Local community group awards grants to help North Complex Fire recovery

The North Valley Community Foundation is providing more than $600,000 in new grants for the Bear Fire/North Complex Fire relief through the Wildfire Relief and Recovery Fund.

Posted: Apr 6, 2021 10:19 PM

BERRY CREEK, Calif. - The North Valley Community Foundation is extending relief to Bear Fire victims.

North Valley Community Foundation's Wildfire Relief and Recovery Fund is more than $600,000, with $125,000 for a fire prevention project in the Berry Creek area.

The Lake Madrone Water District is partnering with the Butte County Fire Safe Council to try and complete a fire break surrounding its 484-acre district.

“There’s no community if you don’t have water,” said Jess Vickery, president of the Lake Madrone Water District.

Yesterday was the first time since the Bear Fire that they were able to pump water out of their wells.

“The vast majority of homes around Lake Madrone are not habitable because there is no potable water,” Vickery told Action News Now.

This is true for Eric Nielsen’s family cabin as it survived the fire, but lost water.

“We would have to come up with just giant jugs of water and we were washing dishes,” said Nielsen. “Pour a little bit of water and try to wash it and rinse it."

With this new grant, the Lake Madrone Water District will be able to work on the fire break to make the community more livable, which will eventually mean more water for homes and businesses.

The funds will be able to help with the removal of fire fuels, but they are still waiting on federal funding to be able to help with all of the other devastations.

RELATED: Bear Fire Survivor: Berry Creek not receiving as much help as Paradise

"Right now we are in the process of applying for FEMA funding to get our distribution grid rebuilt," said Vickery.

They did get temporary water tanks from FEMA and CAL OES, but with all their infrastructure destroyed, it has been a challenging process to receive aid.

The North Valley Community Foundation is also awarding a grant to the Paradise Alliance Church.

Paradise Alliance Church will use these dollars to help with tree removals from the Berry Creek area.

As the Ridge continues to recover from the Camp Fire, Paradise Alliance Church wants to help other communities battling similar rebuilding obstacles.

“You have a tough time rebuilding your home, but then you have this secondary disaster with all these dead trees everywhere that are a hazard,” said Steven Bowlin, director of Disaster Relief at Paradise Alliance Church.

They will also be partnering with the Butte County Fire Safe Council to get the job done.

“We’re partnering with them so that we can cut some of that labor part out, so their grant funds can go much further,” Bowlin told Action News Now.

The grant will allow them to secure a large skid steer and trailer to use, so they can more efficiently remove trees.

Click here to learn more about the North Complex Fire Grant Program, and what other organizations are receiving funds to help the Berry Creek area.

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