Cleanup underway after Boles Fire

Oct 8, 2014 8:26 PM by Charlene Cheng

Looking around, it seems like the 479-acre Boles Fire ripped through town just yesterday.

Remnants of homes serve as reminders of the destruction, but state and local agencies have started to remove piles of debris and hazardous materials.

"Right now we've got site documentation going, we've got asbestos surveys going, I've got cleanup going, we're recycling the metal, and we're going to start taking confirmation samples on the ten lots that we've already cleaned," said Todd Thalhamer, CalRecycle Operations Chief.

I tagged along with CalRecycle crews, getting access to what remains of a residential community known as "Angel Valley."

One of the top priorities at this time is preventing airborne ash from spreading to other areas.

Water trucks spray regularly to keep particulate levels at bay.

"Our goal is to minimize that exposure to the community a second time. And if we work quickly, and we control our dust, that's one way to make it happen," Thalhamer said.

Over 150 structures were damaged or destroyed, but once these lots are cleared off and ready for rebuilding, there will be signs of life returning to the city.

"This particular neighborhood is going to look like a builder's community. You're going to pull up and there's going to be a bunch of flat clean lots, and they're going to have address signs out in front, and they're going to be waiting to be built," Thalhamer said.

CalRecycle officials hope to finish this phase of the cleanup project by the end of October, so families out trick-or-treating won't be affected.


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