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Oroville city leaders focus on saving ash-filled drainage system

The Oroville City Council voted Wednesday morning to declare a local emergency, due to impacts from the Bear Fire. A top priority on the city's list is saving its ash-filled drainage system.

Posted: Sep 16, 2020 5:44 PM

OROVILLE, Calif. – The Oroville City Council voted Wednesday morning to declare a local emergency, due to impacts from the Bear Fire. A top priority on the city's list is saving its ash-filled drainage system.

Mayor Chuck Reynolds said the city will now be able to apply for federal funding to help the community recover from the disaster.

Action News Now reporter Kristian Lopez spoke with one man who went through the Camp Fire and also had to evacuate during the Bear Fire. He said he remembers flooding in Paradise and is worried about going through it all over again.

“I remember getting back up there when the rainy season started, to look at our property to see what was left and there was nothing left, just a big mud puddle. And I saw all of the water that came down the hill…. I wouldn't be surprised to see the same thing here,” explains Mark Rehburg, a Camp Fire and now Bear Fire survivor.

Mark Rehburg and his wife Jodi lost everything during the Camp Fire. They eventually rebuilt their lives in Oroville. But last week – the fast-moving flames of the Bear Fire forced them to evacuate their new home.

“I closed the door here thinking… this is it. I won't see it again. But we got lucky this time," said Rehburg.

The couple's home is still standing and only suffered smoke damages. But Rehburg says he's still worried about flooding.

“Where we are at, the hills are behind us, and there's a canal behind us,” said Rehburg. “We are worried it will get inundated with the ash and overflow its banks and that kind of thing into our house. They should be proactive as far as getting in there and scraping out a lot of the ash.”

The city of Oroville says getting rid of the ash is one of the city's top priorities.

“We need to remove the contaminants before we have rain and it escapes to the river,” Mayor Chuck Reynolds said. “We don’t want to compound the issue.”

The city declared a local emergency Wednesday which now allows them to apply for aid to recover from the disaster.

Rehburg says he knows exactly what it's like to have to start all over and shared this message with fellow fire survivors.

“Keep your head up, it gets better with time, but that's just it, it takes time,” shared Rehburg.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3055568

Reported Deaths: 34441
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103280614122
San Bernardino2561091560
Riverside2504362645
San Diego2168352109
Orange2148082477
Santa Clara943661109
Kern86718565
Fresno82485968
Sacramento806781111
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San Joaquin58290786
Contra Costa52965450
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Tulare41867506
Monterey36126255
San Mateo32596309
San Francisco29321262
Solano25806106
Imperial25317465
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Merced24452308
Sonoma24068240
Kings19435145
Placer17380180
San Luis Obispo15929136
Madera13443151
Santa Cruz12298113
Marin11693157
Yolo10620131
Shasta9776122
Butte9474123
El Dorado782644
Sutter775478
Napa760140
Lassen519516
San Benito496343
Yuba495127
Tehama397142
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Nevada320673
Mendocino311432
Amador301631
Lake261230
Humboldt239324
Glenn193519
Colusa17339
Calaveras161723
Siskiyou144613
Mono11214
Inyo97429
Del Norte8662
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3024
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 67° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 64°
Oroville
Clear
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Hi: 63° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 63°
Chico
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 60° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 64°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
67° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 67°
Red Bluff
Partly Cloudy
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Hi: 65° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 67°
Chico
Partly Cloudy
64° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 64°
Lighter winds and mostly mild conditions are on the way for your Wednesday. We'll see cloudy skies and cooler temperatures on Thursday, and then a bigger drop in temperatures and showers on Friday. More wet weather looks likely from Sunday afternoon through early next week.
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