CHICO, Calif. - Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said his office has been contacted by over 2,000 Camp Fire survivors who have requested escorts so they can go behind evacuation lines to meet at their home or former home sites with FEMA inspectors. He told Action News Now that this was a miscommunication, and says FEMA does not need to physically meet with property owners or renters within the normal 30-day period.
Sheriff Honea said he was concerned that fire survivors' benefits could be held up, so he held a press conference Saturday afternoon at the Chico FEMA Disaster Recovery Center to clarify the situation.
A lead official for the Camp Fire FEMA disaster said if people get a letter from FEMA stating they are ineligible for aid because of the lack of an inspection or because of the state of their insurance, they should come down to one of the FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Oroville or Chico and discuss their situation in person. If applicants can not get to a center in person they are asked to call FEMA at (800) 621-3362. The TTY number is (800) 462-7585.
When you are first allowed back to your property, said Sheriff Honea, you do not have to meet with an inspector. The first 24 hours that a zone evacuation order is listed is only for families to see their situation firsthand and is not a time to rush into a FEMA inspection.
Sheriff Honea suggests that after that 24 hour period homeowners can call FEMA and then arrange for an inspection if one is still needed. Several inspections have been conducted over the telephone.
The Sheriff emphasized that his office should not be called for an escort for a homeowner to meet with a FEMA inspector.