WEED, Calif. – A relief fund is starting up for those impacted by a fire in and around the communities of Weed and Lake Shastina in Northern California.
The Mill Fire was first reported at the Roseburg Forest Products mill property in northern Weed on September 2. It went on to take two lives and destroy 118 structures before it was brought under control.
After the fire, Roseburg Forest Products said the company believes one of its water-spraying machines from a third-party manufacturer malfunctioned, allowing a pile of ash in one of their buildings to combust, spreading fire to neighborhoods north of the mill site.
“We’re saddened by the loss of life that did occur,” said RBF spokesperson Pete Hillan. “We’re disheartened by the impact that it’s had on so many residents and so we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to help everybody recover and rebuild.”
The company said it planned to set up a $50 million fund for community restoration in the wake of the Mill Fire.
On Tuesday, the Weed Police Department shared a notice from Roseburg Forest Products announcing the opening of a claim center for those who incurred direct losses as a result of the Mill Fire.
The claim center will reportedly be open weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. beginning September 13, 2022, at the Weed Community Center at 161 East Lincoln Avenue in Weed.
Claimants can meet with an independent administrator who can start addressing immediate needs, which include funds for temporary shelter, clothing, food, transportation if applicable, medical care, child and adult day care, and compensation for lost income.
“When they come through then they tell us their stories and needs and then they are walking out here with resources to address some of the temporary needs,” said Hillan.
It’ll be open on weekdays from 9 to 5. Roseburg Forest Products says its planning on working with insurance companies on long-term needs, like re-building.
Weed Police asked everyone to allow those who were directly impacted by the fire to be the first in line. “Many of these residents lost everything and need immediate attention and resources,” WPD said.
As of the morning of Tuesday, September 13, the Mill Fire was 100% contained at 3,935 acres in size.
All evacuation orders and warnings around the fire were lifted the previous morning. However, fire and utility crews will be working in the area for the next several days to weeks. Returning residents are asked to be aware of these crews and exercise caution when returning home, as conditions in the area may still be hazardous. Dangers include petroleum products, asbestos, and battery acid that require personal protection equipment to be worn. Those who enter the area while unprepared could slow down the recovery process, the Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Management said.
Personal protection equipment for returning residents can be picked up at the Weed Community Center.
For the latest information about the cleanup process, visit https://www.facebook.com/SiskiyouCountyOES/
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