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Update: Vehicles Damaged By Fire At Camp Hope

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Update at 1:50  p.m.: Tuolumne County officials responded to the recent fires at Camp Hope off of Stockton Road after another blaze, involving fully engulfed vehicles, early this morning at the site. Details on that fire and two others at the homeless camp in Sonora on Wednesday are below. The county is already in the process of closing the camp, citing factors like health and safety concerns, and giving those living there 90 days to relocate, as earlier reported here.

In Friday’s release, the county noted,  “The health, safety, and welfare of County residents is the top priority of Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors and Staff. The County is aware of the recent fires at Camp Hope and is actively working through various County departments to effectuate, and to the extent possible expedite, the Code Compliance process already in place.” They add that fire and law enforcement are investigating the causes of the recent fires.

The release also provided the answers to some of the questions surrounding the camp below:

What enforcement action is the County taking?

Enforcement notices were issued on May 10 and May 14, 2021. The notices were posted on the site and sent to property owners and identified the violations observed on the property, which include illegal camping, and the accumulation of solid waste, illegal grading, and the construction of non-permitted structures. The property owner has 90 days to abate and remove the violations on the property. If the violations are still present at the end of 90 days, the County will proceed with abatement through a process outlined in Chapter 1.10 of the Tuolumne County Ordinance Code.

How long do individuals have to leave the site?

Individuals will have 90 days to relocate, and the County will provide services to assist with such relocation. The County has found that most individuals are willing to relocate once they are informed of the violation, offered services and shelter, and understand that they need to vacate by a certain date.

What is the progress relocating Camp Hope individuals?

This site is private property; however, the County has been actively monitoring the property and activities of those living on the site including law enforcement, CalFire, and the relocation team. The relocation team is comprised of Resiliency Village, Public Health, Behavioral Health, Social Services, ATCAA, Nancy’s Hope, The Refuge, and Give Someone A Chance. It is estimated the seasonal fluctuation of illegal campers living at Camp Hope is between 50 – 75. The transition team has conducted over 40 relocation plans and to date, 25 individuals have transitioned from Camp Hope and receiving supportive services. Priority was given to the most medically and mentally fragile individuals. There are approximately 15 additional individuals who have committed to engage in services and work is underway to quickly transition them from the Camp Hope location. The remaining individuals not interested in services will be subject to removal at the conclusion of the 90-day enforcement period.

Many important partnerships between the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors and key stakeholders have contributed to this robust plan including the City of Sonora, Adventist Health, the Me Wuk Health Clinic, Mathieson Health Center, Center for a Non-Violent Community, and the Sonora Area Foundation. As community partners, we acknowledge that homelessness affects our entire community, and we are committed to lowering the impact of this plan on our community, businesses, and residents.

Anyone that may have information regarding these fires, is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 209-533-5815.

Original post at 6 a.m. written by BJ Hansen: Sonora, CA — There was another fire early this morning at Camp Hope off of Stockton Road.

A couple of vehicles were destroyed by fire, and the blaze also burned a 100 ft. by 100 ft. spot of vegetation. CAL Fire reports that resources responded shortly after 1am. The fire was extinguished, and the engines were released, by around 2:30am. What caused the fire is not immediately known. No injuries were reported.

Crews also responded to a pair of separate vegetation fires at the Camp Hope homeless camp on Wednesday.

We reported earlier that Tuolumne County is ordering the closure of the camp within 90 days because of health and safety violations. County officials are working to relocate the residents.