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These Photos Show What It’s Like To Live In A Walmart Parking Lot After Fleeing A Wildfire

After being displaced by the Camp fire in Northern California, almost a thousand people have set up makeshift housing in a Walmart parking lot.

Posted on November 17, 2018, at 9:19 a.m. ET

Displaced Butte County residents have set up a makeshift camp nearby a Walmart parking lot, after being displaced by the Camp fire, in Chico, California, Nov. 16.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Displaced Butte County residents have set up a makeshift camp nearby a Walmart parking lot, after being displaced by the Camp fire, in Chico, California, Nov. 16.

Almost a thousand people have had to make a Walmart parking lot their home in Chico, California, as a result of the catastrophic Camp fire in Northern California. Many fled with just the clothes on their back, and most have no home to return to in the wake of the most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. To make matters worse, some of the shelters for evacuees are experiencing an outbreak of norovirus, a highly contagious gastrointestinal virus. These photos show the limited facilities on offer for families left sitting in the still-smoky air, trying to figure out what comes next.

Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News
Magalia resident Carla Bounds, left, kisses her dog, Gracie, with Mark Kempton in the driver’s seat of their vehicle.
Joel Angel Juarez / Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Magalia resident Carla Bounds, left, kisses her dog, Gracie, with Mark Kempton in the driver’s seat of their vehicle.

Claudia Bennett, right, hands out freshly-baked muffins. “For the grace of God, I can be here,” said Bennett.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Claudia Bennett, right, hands out freshly-baked muffins. “For the grace of God, I can be here,” said Bennett.

Magalia residents Michael Crowder, 64, left, his wife, Maggie Missere-Crowder, 64, right, and their pit bull, Coco, sit by their tent. Michael Crowder, who has severe heart issues, is concerned about how sleeping in a tent with poor air quality could affect his health.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Magalia residents Michael Crowder, 64, left, his wife, Maggie Missere-Crowder, 64, right, and their pit bull, Coco, sit by their tent. Michael Crowder, who has severe heart issues, is concerned about how sleeping in a tent with poor air quality could affect his health.

Paradise resident Elizabeth Erle sorts through donated clothes on Nov. 16. “That day, it felt like I was going through real-life hell,” said Erle. “It was the most terrifying experience that any human being can endure.” Erle was displaced by the fire and is now staying with a friend in their RV in Yuba City.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Paradise resident Elizabeth Erle sorts through donated clothes on Nov. 16. “That day, it felt like I was going through real-life hell,” said Erle. “It was the most terrifying experience that any human being can endure.” Erle was displaced by the fire and is now staying with a friend in their RV in Yuba City.

Oroville resident Dakota Reiley has been sleeping in a tent nearby the parking lot. “Literally, these people lost homes and have nowhere to go,” said Reiley. Reiley left his home in Oroville after the city was placed under a voluntary evacuation order.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Oroville resident Dakota Reiley has been sleeping in a tent nearby the parking lot. “Literally, these people lost homes and have nowhere to go,” said Reiley. Reiley left his home in Oroville after the city was placed under a voluntary evacuation order.

Chico resident Destiny Davis, 19, pushes a cart of blankets that her family hand-stitched for people displaced by the Camp fire.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Chico resident Destiny Davis, 19, pushes a cart of blankets that her family hand-stitched for people displaced by the Camp fire.

Magalia resident James Sallaz leans on his friend’s truck, which he has been sleeping in. “About 10 minutes after we were told to evacuate, we saw the flames coming up over towards our fence,” said Sallaz. He hitched a ride with a Butte County sheriff out of Magalia into Chico when the Camp fire broke out last week.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Magalia resident James Sallaz leans on his friend’s truck, which he has been sleeping in. “About 10 minutes after we were told to evacuate, we saw the flames coming up over towards our fence,” said Sallaz. He hitched a ride with a Butte County sheriff out of Magalia into Chico when the Camp fire broke out last week.

Paradise resident Elizabeth Erle embraces her dog. “I actually thought I was going to die,” said Erle. “I held on my cross, I looked at my dog, and I said we were going to get out. I really do believe God was behind me.”
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Paradise resident Elizabeth Erle embraces her dog. “I actually thought I was going to die,” said Erle. “I held on my cross, I looked at my dog, and I said we were going to get out. I really do believe God was behind me.”

A displaced Butte County resident sits in his car at the Walmart parking lot.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

A displaced Butte County resident sits in his car at the Walmart parking lot.

Volunteers cook food for people who have been displaced by the Camp fire.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Volunteers cook food for people who have been displaced by the Camp fire.

Makenzi Larimer, right, stands among boxes of donations brought from Gardnerville, Nevada.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Makenzi Larimer, right, stands among boxes of donations brought from Gardnerville, Nevada.

Magalia residents Lili Batres, 13, and her father, Luis, drive off after packing up their belongings from their tent at the Walmart parking lot. Luis Batres has severe asthma, and his family was moved into a nearby shelter later that night.
Kate Bubacz / Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Magalia residents Lili Batres, 13, and her father, Luis, drive off after packing up their belongings from their tent at the Walmart parking lot. Luis Batres has severe asthma, and his family was moved into a nearby shelter later that night.

Luis Batres packs up his belongings from his tent at the parking lot.
Joel Angel Juárez for BuzzFeed News

Luis Batres packs up his belongings from his tent at the parking lot.


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