Some California fire victims were already living on the edge

 
 
Updated 12/6/2018 1:58 PM
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  • In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 photo Michael Jones organizes a pile of donated blankets, sleeping bags and clothes in a fairgrounds parking lot that's become home to some of the people displaced by California's deadliest wildfire in Chico, Calif. Jones lost nearly everything he owns when the fire destroyed his trailer and his mom's home in Paradise last month, but he's determined to stay put because he doesn't want to be a burden on his friends and relatives.

    In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 photo Michael Jones organizes a pile of donated blankets, sleeping bags and clothes in a fairgrounds parking lot that's become home to some of the people displaced by California's deadliest wildfire in Chico, Calif. Jones lost nearly everything he owns when the fire destroyed his trailer and his mom's home in Paradise last month, but he's determined to stay put because he doesn't want to be a burden on his friends and relatives. Associated Press

  • In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 photo, Bob Talk cuddles his dog, Princeton, at a Red Cross disaster shelter in Chico, Calif. Talk had lived in his trailer for three days when fire swept through the town of Paradise and destroyed his home last month, making him homeless again. The future is uncertain for all of the fire's victims, but it's uniquely challenging for the many like Talk who were already living on the edge, homeless or nearly so, before escaping with their lives and little else.

    In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 photo, Bob Talk cuddles his dog, Princeton, at a Red Cross disaster shelter in Chico, Calif. Talk had lived in his trailer for three days when fire swept through the town of Paradise and destroyed his home last month, making him homeless again. The future is uncertain for all of the fire's victims, but it's uniquely challenging for the many like Talk who were already living on the edge, homeless or nearly so, before escaping with their lives and little else. Associated Press

  • In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 photo, Steve Wilson poses for a photo next to the tent where he's been sleeping in the parking lot of an abandoned Toys R Us in Chico, Calif. Wilson, who was homeless in Chico before the worst wildfire in California history destroyed nearby Paradise, has seen the streets grow more crowded with homeless people.

    In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 photo, Steve Wilson poses for a photo next to the tent where he's been sleeping in the parking lot of an abandoned Toys R Us in Chico, Calif. Wilson, who was homeless in Chico before the worst wildfire in California history destroyed nearby Paradise, has seen the streets grow more crowded with homeless people. Associated Press

  • In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 photo Michael Jones organizes a pile of donated blankets, sleeping bags and clothes in a fairgrounds parking lot that's become home to some of the people displaced by California's deadliest wildfire in Chico, Calif. Jones lost nearly everything he owns when the fire destroyed his trailer and his mom's home in Paradise last month, but he's determined to stay put because he doesn't want to be a burden on his friends and relatives.

    In this Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 photo Michael Jones organizes a pile of donated blankets, sleeping bags and clothes in a fairgrounds parking lot that's become home to some of the people displaced by California's deadliest wildfire in Chico, Calif. Jones lost nearly everything he owns when the fire destroyed his trailer and his mom's home in Paradise last month, but he's determined to stay put because he doesn't want to be a burden on his friends and relatives. Associated Press

CHICO, Calif. -- The future is uncertain for many of those driven out by the deadly wildfire in Northern California, but it's uniquely challenging for those who were homeless or nearly so even before the flames swept through and took what little they had.

Steve Wilson, who was homeless in Chico before the disaster a month ago, has seen the streets grow more crowded with others like him. He says hustling for handouts has gotten tougher because people are giving their money to fire victims instead.

On the other hand, he says, homeless people are blending in with the fire victims and are less likely to get hassled by police for pitching tents and living on the streets.

The fire destroyed 14,000 homes and killed at least 85 people.

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