Secondary effects

Illustration by Mark Ricketts

A lot has transpired in the six months since the Camp Fire ravaged Butte County’s foothills communities. As residents from those regions face the daunting task of rebuilding—or starting over elsewhere—nearby cities are doing their best to absorb those displaced.

Recent numbers released by the state tell us that the population of Paradise alone dropped to under 5,000 after the fire (the town’s population was about 27,000 before the blaze). Many of the people who lost their homes there or in the other burned areas have made new or temporary homes in Chico.

No community is prepared to grow so tremendously overnight—Chico gained over 19,000 residents, more than a 20 percent increase. So, this week, we look at the biggest secondary impacts of the Camp Fire on this community—on education, on housing, on infrastructure like roads and sewage, and on local finances and the economy.