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Fire turns Chico, California into a boomtown, but at what cost?



Now, the population has spiked at 10,000 to 20,000 because of people who fled the fire, not to mention hundreds of repair and restoration workers from the state and federal agencies and from the Pacific Gas and Electric utility. That has pushed the population of the city – an hour and 45 minutes north of Sacramento on California Route 99 – about what was expected two decades from now.

“The growth happened overnight. It's kind of amazing, "Orme said." It feels like a city within a city. "

The result has been to many businesses, and a windfall for homeowners ready to move on, but a costly and vexing challenge for and over government, people and people who were the old, pre-fire Chico.


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