Marc Albert

Reporter, Morning Edition Host

North State Public Radio reporter Marc Albert joined the staff in 2010 as a morning program host. Formerly a reporter at the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Sun, Berkeley Voice and other publications, Marc is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and attended the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. A California resident since 1987, Marc has lived in Kyoto, Japan, Georgetown, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand. He originally hails from New York City. His first public radio experience was at age 16, answering phones during pledge drives at the storied WBAI. He later served as a volunteer reporter at KUSP-Santa Cruz, WBAI-New York and KPFA-Berkeley before embarking on a decade plus sojourn in print journalism. He has proudly called Chico his home since 2008.

Cal Fire

Authorities in Chico responded quickly Wednesday afternoon as a brush fire erupted on the eastern edge of town, spreading across 150 acres. 

The fire spread quickly through dry grass and shrubs near the California Park area and was 50 percent contained by nightfall.  

Aaron Lowe, a division chief with the Chico Fire Department, said officials are still trying to figure out how it started. “The ignition source of the fire is under investigation, we’re still determining the origin and cause,” he said. 

Cal Fire

Firefighters continue surveying the damage and are beginning to mop up after a wind-whipped wildfire exploded across the Happy Valley area of Shasta County west of Anderson Tuesday.  

Cal Fire Public Information Officer Suzi Brady confirmed that five homes were utterly destroyed and two other buildings were significantly damaged despite an overwhelming response by local, state and federal firefighters backed by air tankers and helicopters dropping water and retardant.  

All evacuation orders and warnings related to the Wall Fire in the foothills above Oroville were lifted early yesterday evening. Cal Fire says the fire has burned through 6,033 acres. It is 75 percent contained.  

Separately, a small, nearby 5-acre fire that burst out near the intersection of Rebie Way and Forbestown Road near Lake Oroville has been fully contained.  

With some fearing the worst, people ordered from their homes as the Wall Fire spread were invited by authorities Tuesday to learn the fate of everything they left behind. 

A slow trickle of residents, some almost buoyant, others seemingly dragging their feet, approached the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Oroville, hoping for the best.  

They had come to hear directly from Cal Fire and Butte County officials whether their homes were among the 41 consumed by the fire. 

Carolyn Opalenik has lived above Oroville for nearly two decades.  

More homeowners ordered to flee their houses as fire swept through the Sierra foothills above Oroville are bracing for the worst. Cal Fire officials have significantly raised their estimate of the number of homes consumed by the still burning Wall Fire. 

According to Cal Fire, 41 single-family homes, 46 backyard sheds and other outbuildings and two commercial structures were utterly destroyed by the fire, first reported Friday afternoon.  

Another three homes and seven outbuildings were significantly damaged.  

Tremendous efforts by firefighters battling through the night, have paid some dividends in Butte County where Cal Fire is reporting the explosive Wall Fire near Oroville now 35 percent contained.  

Cal Fire spokeswoman Mary Eldridge said that major concerns remain. 

“We’ve got 5,400 structures that are threatened, meaning that they are in the path of the fire," she said. "Of Structures destroyed, our current count is 17, and structures damaged is five.” 

Despite the destruction however, there are signs that fire crews are beginning to turn the corner. 

Clouds of magenta fire retardant rained down from Cal Fire aircraft Tuesday, as a brush fire scorched about 100 acres of rangeland north of Oroville.  

Cal Fire reported the blaze 95 percent contained by about 4 p.m.  

The fire was initially reported about three hours earlier. The fire was centered near the intersection of Nelson Avenue and Wilbur Road west of Oroville.

Seventeen years have passed since federal officials agreed to restore salmon populations on the Trinity River to levels unseen since it was dammed in the 1960s. Results have been slow. Last week we reported on the frustrations of some locals. Today, in part two, Marc Albert looks into why scientists think success hasn’t been obvious.

Marc Albert

There was still plenty of chill in the March air as about 20 locals straggled into the Junction City Grange Hall for another meeting about undoing a century and a half of damage to Trinity County’s namesake river.

Mike Dixon, implementation branch chief for the Trinity River Restoration Program, a project of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation addressed the audience:

An emergency siren will wail in Oroville at noon today, the first of what officials say will be monthly tests.

The haunting sound will blast for less than a minute according to the Department of Water Resources.

The new siren is meant to warn construction workers of an on-site emergency. The old system was destroyed during February’s near disaster. Monthly tests have been scheduled for noon on the first Friday of each month.

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