Fires

Paradise High School principal resigns, unable to find housing after Camp Fire

What it looks like when crews remove contaminated fire debris in Paradise

Specialized contractors begin removing the remains of the home of Robert and Joan Badour in Paradise on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. The home was destroyed in the Camp Fire in November. The property will be bare earth when they are finished.
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Specialized contractors begin removing the remains of the home of Robert and Joan Badour in Paradise on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019. The home was destroyed in the Camp Fire in November. The property will be bare earth when they are finished.

The principal of Paradise High School says he is resigning because he was unable to secure housing after November’s devastating Camp Fire destroyed more than 10,000 homes in and near the Butte County community.

Loren Lighthall announced his departure in a post to Paradise High School’s Facebook page.

“It is with great sorrow that I am resigning as Principal of Paradise High School,” Lighthall wrote. “... Unfortunately, I have been unable to secure housing. As you know, my wife and I have 7 children including a four year old and we need to think about their needs and provide a stable environment for them.”

Lighthall said he will begin a new job as principal of Hughson High School starting July 1. Hughson is a rural town a few miles southeast of Modesto.

The Camp Fire destroyed more than 18,000 structures and killed 85 people, becoming the deadliest and costliest wildfire in California history. The wildfire erupted Nov. 8 near Paradise, which had a population of more than 26,000 people at the time.

Thousands of residents were evacuated, and while some stayed in Butte County or even returned to Paradise, many have relocated elsewhere by choice or necessity.

Butte County plummeted on the “affordability index” maintained by one data firm, as median home prices there increased 17 percent in the six months between October 2018 and April. Many Camp Fire survivors headed to nearby Chico to look for a new home.

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