Camp Fire evacuees at Walmart parking lot ordered to leave with their pets

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By Sunday, hundreds of Camp Fire evacuees, with their few belongings and mementos, their children and their pets will be forced to leave the Walmart parking lot at Chico. The portable bathrooms will be removed, the tables for food and water will be packed up, and the tents ordered to be dismantled.

According to the Sacramento Bee, a handwritten sign posted by local volunteers and Butte County officials stated people can move to the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley where indoor shelter space run by the American Red Cross is being made available.

Walmart did not approach any of the evacuees, and in a statement said they were glad to have provided so many people and their pets an emergency place to stay, however share their concerns for the safety of the displaced people as do county officials.

“We understand that our parking lots are not a viable long-term housing solution and are working closely with the American Red Cross, the county and local organizations to best preserve the health and safety of those impacted by the Camp Fire,” stated Tiffany Wilson in an emailed statement from Walmart.

More than 53,000 people from the Northern California town of Paradise have been forced to evacuate. The images of tents lined up along the perimeter of the parking lot with waves of people donating clothes, food and services for families and their pets have gone viral.
Sadly, there are many concerns about the public shelters, including the fear of contacting the contagious norovirus, to not allowing pets to unsanitary conditions. Although temperatures have dropped to the low 40’s at night and conditions keep getting worse with looting and stealing from tents, many displaced people say they will seek out another parking lot. In addition, rain is in the forecast for Thanksgiving – less than a week away.
Looking for your lost pet? The San Francisco SPCA has taken in 29 animals in Butte County that need their owners. The pets are being treated for burns, and can be reclaimed.
“On Wednesday we transferred 29 animals from the Camp Fire area to the SF SPCA. Their injuries range from mild to severe burns, and they’re receiving treatment at our hospital. We haven’t been able to find the owners for most of these pets. Please help us by sharing this album! If you believe one of these animals is yours, call us at 415-554-3030.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster recovery center being set up in an old Sears store opened on Friday, however  temporary housing options won’t be available for a few more days yet. Meanwhile, people have no place to go. Local officials state they will not aggressively be ordering people to leave.
(Featured photo of lost dog at the San Francisco SPCA. If you recognize this pup, A40173315, please contact the rescue) More rescued pets can be viewed here.
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