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Rebuilding Paradise after the Camp Fire

Officials say that the process to rebuild Paradise after the Camp Fire will be lengthy.

Posted: Mar 12, 2019 5:01 PM
Updated: Mar 12, 2019 6:49 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - Officials say that the process to rebuild Paradise after the Camp Fire will be lengthy.

Action News Now asked town officials about the process to determine what to expect in the aftermath of the fire. 

How many people will rebuild? 

According to Susan Hartman with the town's Planning Committee, the committee is looking at an upward of 40 percent return rate for residents. 

With outside research from the aftermath of the Sonoma County fires, Hartman said that the town is hoping to expect about 50-100 applications within the first year. This is because people have a lot of decisions to make before deciding if they want to rebuild, she said. 

Hartman said that there are various factors that can prolong the process. 

"The water service, are they willing to install a water tank or do they want to wait till PID is ready to serve some people?" she said. "Some people might be interested in relocating somewhere else in town, some might be waiting for their lots to be cleared so an offer can be made. Those are the kinds of things that might prolong the process." 

Hartman said the town put together checklist packets for commercial and residential projects. The packet includes all the applications needed to progress toward rebuilding. 

To access the packet, visit the Paradise Town Hall. 

Water contamination 

One major issue that has presented challenges in the rebuilding process is water contamination in damaged pipes. 

However, the town has a plan to ensure that water will be adequately tested. 

They are planning to work on sections of the town in zones so each property's pipes will be tested to determine whether they will be cleared or if new pipes will need to be put in. 

Paradise Irrigation District Manager Kevin Phillips said it would take up to two and a half years to complete the entire process throughout the town. 

The town is divided into seven zones and Phillips said that they will be working their way from the top of the hill downward. 

He said it's been a long process to figure out what system will work best for the town. 

They'll have to shut off water in one zone at a time and in that tie people with houses still standing will be provided with a tank. 

"Once we get to that homeowner and that homeowner is cleared, we're not going to lift that until we clear a whole zone to make sure that homeowners can't suck another contaminant back into their system," he said. "So it's going to take, if you look at it kind of in blocks of town will be lifted as we go through it." 

Phillips said zones vary in size and damage. It could take 1-6 months to complete an entire zone. 

A public meeting will be held to discuss the process further with homeowners and businesses owners on March 26. 

California Coronavirus Cases

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We're getting hotter as we head into the middle of this week, and the potential for thunderstorms will prompt a Fire Weather Watch in the Sierra on Thursday. Hot & dry conditions continue through your weekend.
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