GRIZZLY FLATS (CBS13) — Repairing the infrastructure in Grizzly Flats is a priority after hundreds of homes were destroyed.
Crews will be hard at work for a long time, officials say, and staff is relying on many hands to help bring people home.
Andy Vicars works for the Grizzly Flats Community Services District.
"Basically, I am the only maintenance guy here," he said. "We're trying though."
Vicars has the daunting task of assessing infrastructure after the Caldor Fire ripped through his community destroying two-thirds of the homes there.
"So we have to flush all the systems out," he said.
They go block by block, flushing out lines and hydrants. It's a challenge.
"Because the roots are still on fire out there. They are still smoldering, even a month later," Vicars said.
It's caused further damage to water lines two feet underground. Pipes that feed the intake to the reservoir were also damaged.
"It was all hand-dug by the Chinese in 1842—the eagle ditch line—and we put pipes in there and they burned," Vicars said. "And in order to get those repaired, we have to have the hazard trees out of the way and it's a process."
Tree crews were hard at work with heavy machinery, as well as hazmat crews. Until assessments are completed, water is not drinkable. Pallets of water have been brought in for the dozens of residents who decided to return.
El Dorado County is working with the California Office of Emergency Services to provide other services.
"We are trying to get a shower trailer up there for people to take showers and then also a trailer that they can do their laundry and dryer their clothes in, too," said George Turnboo, an El Dorado County supervisor.
Vicars' was one whose home did not burn in the fire.
"It's a blessing and a curse," he said.
As he looked all around his home at the neighbors that are gone, he was reflective of his role.
"Maybe that's why my house is here, so I can continue that effort," he said.
But he knows the road to recovery will be a long one.
"It's a big challenge and a long way to go still," Vicars said. "Hopefully, we get some more help."
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