Survivors of a California wildfire navigate life after FEMA housing


“It made a great driving range to hit the golf balls,” Mike said, and with that, the bus passed through the fence and turned right, and the Ericksons were gone, except for a few things they had left behind. A lawn chair, a fan, a mirror, a mop. All of it noted by a FEMA inspector who came later that day. “Okey-doke,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot worse.” The deadbolt didn’t work, so he pulled the front door shut and pronounced it good enough. “We’re finished,” he said, and hours later, as night settled in, Trailer 83 was a shadow in a dark corner of an empty lot. There was nothing to break the silence as midnight came and then went and the park was officially closed. The housing program was over. FEMA had fulfilled its obligations to the displaced.