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Walmart Still Has Welcome Mat Out for Camp Fire Evacuees

Dozens of evacuees have decided to stay at the Walmart parking lot, instead of a Red Cross shelter. One of the organizers of the "unofficial" shelter location said many people want to stay.

Posted: Nov 18, 2018 11:04 PM
Updated: Nov 19, 2018 8:59 AM

CHICO, Calif. -  Dozens of evacuees are still camped by Walmart on Forest Avenue in Chico.

Organizer Luigi Balsamo told Action News Now that 1,000 people have passed through the camp.

Balsamo said he has heard a lot of misinformation about the camp, including that there is a deadline for the camp to close by.

Balsamo set the record straight.

"Here we are over a week later and it's not really the best-suited place for these people to be sleeping," he said. "The consensus is that people like to stay here and the free food is appealing." 

There are other places for them to go, Balsamo said.

"The message isn't we're kicking you out, but we're trying to help you - better serve you," he said. 

Action News Now spoke with a Walmart representative who said Walmart will continue to support the evacuees in any way it can.

Walmart has no plans to close the evacuee camp any time soon.

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Gusty winds and very dry conditions will drive high fire danger across northern California on Thursday. We'll also end up much cooler on Thursday afternoon. Lighter winds, hotter temperatures, and more widespread impacts to air quality are ahead for Friday and Saturday.
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