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Community pulling together amid wildfire destruction

The Bear Fire is the latest wildfire to destroy this part of Oroville, but this isn't the first time this neighborhood's resiliency has been tested before

Posted: Sep 13, 2020 9:14 PM
Updated: Sep 13, 2020 9:15 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. -- Hot spots continue burning throughout the community with many homes now fully destroyed. Yet, despite the status of their home impacted by the Bear Fire, many people in the community are more worried about their neighbors.

“We tried to do the best we can,” said Sandy Hansen, Oroville resident for more than 32 years.
She added, “My friend Norma, if she wouldn't have called or texted, me and Mike would be dead.”

“We went ahead and took off. Opened up all the gates so that everybody could try to get away, you know, all the animals,” said Husband Michael Hansen.

He paused for a second, holding back his tears.

“That's probably been the hardest thing. It's the animals,” said Michael.

Thousands of dollars spent on fire prevention, but that still couldn't save much of the Hansen household.

“Thought we had it, but the way this fire came through, there was no stopping it,” said Michael.

Consoling them was Margaret Gunderson.

Her home still stands, but it was a close call.

Portions of her property burned. Most of her neighbors lost their homes.

“The moment that I found out that my house made it was complete elation, and then that sinking feeling of everybody else that doesn't so it's like okay we have to do what we can do.”

This past week, Gunderson ran supplies to and from those who stayed, and to stranded animals.

“Animals are missing and suffering and hungry and right now that's kind of my priority,” said Gunderson.

Fires are still destroying, while smoke is still settling. But this rebuild starts with love for one another.

“When we had the fire three years ago, the Ponderosa Fire, we all worked together,” said Gunderson.

“That's why we're dumping all kinds of resources we can into the place to make sure everybody back there's taken care of. Margaret's going to look after my animals, make sure that they're fed and watered. That alone is worth any amount I can give,” said Michael.

And it ends with unity and perseverance.

“That’s what we do. We take care of each other. I'm sad my home is gone, but I’ll make it through this,” said Sandy.

Evacuees that can't get food and water to their animals should reach out to the North Valley Animal Disaster Group.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 803660

Reported Deaths: 15516
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2657756488
Riverside581781189
San Bernardino53669922
Orange529041204
San Diego46001775
Kern31785361
Fresno28106382
Sacramento22026402
Alameda21028404
Santa Clara20882306
San Joaquin20194441
Stanislaus16452348
Contra Costa16327204
Tulare15897259
Ventura12617147
Imperial11781317
San Francisco1103899
San Mateo9785150
Monterey977270
Santa Barbara9003113
Merced8846140
Kings763177
Sonoma7320120
Marin6672117
Solano630963
Madera448165
Placer354244
San Luis Obispo351029
Butte280343
Yolo278955
Santa Cruz23199
Sutter169611
Napa166113
San Benito133111
Yuba11437
El Dorado10984
Mendocino89918
Shasta77717
Lassen7370
Glenn5743
Tehama5404
Lake53411
Nevada5317
Colusa5276
Humboldt5017
Calaveras31414
Amador29616
Tuolumne2274
Inyo18715
Mono1652
Siskiyou1650
Del Norte1391
Mariposa752
Plumas500
Modoc270
Trinity160
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 88°
Oroville
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 89°
Paradise
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 88°
Chester
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 68°
Red Bluff
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 90°
Willows
Broken Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 88°
A RED FLAG WARNING will be in place Saturday night through Monday evening due to strong winds and dry weather predicted.
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