State contractors had cleared 60 of some 138 properties on CalRecycle's cleanup list early this month and expected to reach the halfway point over the weekend, said
"We have a dry streak now, so we're going to work it pretty hard," Thalhamer said.
CalRecycle has hauled away 2,559 tons of concrete, 267 tons of metal and 8,823 tons of ash and soil, according to spokesman
"It's going really well,"
The work sets the stage for reconstruction in the town where some 1,300 residents lived before the
The losses included some commercial enterprises on the town's historic
"It's coming back," said
The bar was shut down for two months because of fire damage, Davis said.
Before the debris cleanup could begin, state officials had to identify and remove toxic materials. That work is largely completed, but a number of properties -- marked by pink hazard tape and spray paint -- still need to be evaluated for asbestos before they can be cleared. Asbestos-contaminated properties require special treatment, Thalhamer said.
The cleanup crews are accompanied by state-hired Native American monitors, who scan sites for cultural artifacts during excavation.
The monitors already have found 12 new cultural sites, including one village, Thalhamer said. The sites and artifacts are documented and reburied, he said. Finding cultural sites on private property does not interfere with an owner's ability to rebuild and otherwise utilize their land, Thalhamer said.
Brown said the cleanup is proceeding faster than similar work on the Valley fire last year. That's partly because there were fewer trees to remove, and partly because the damage is more concentrated and there's less of it.
The Valley Fire scorched 76,067 acres -- much of it forested -- and destroyed 1,955 structures, including 1,281 homes. At least four people died during the fire. The body of a fifth person reported missing since the fire has not been located.
Because of the Valley fire and other blazes last year, local contractors were trained to clean up the Clayton fire, Thalhamer said.
The cleanup is expected to produce 30,000 tons to 40,000 tons of waste -- the same amount
The Clayton cleanup is expected to cost the state more than
As of early November, no one had pulled permits to rebuild on their newly cleared lots, Brown said. He suspects many residents are still struggling to come to terms with their losses and figuring out what steps are next.
"I have to think about what I'm doing. For two weeks, I didn't even shed a tear because I was in shock," said Herrin, who moved to
Herrin's property on Palomino Court has been cleared and she has begun consulting a contractor to figure out how to proceed. She had limited insurance on the 2004 manufactured home she purchased last year. It was enough to pay off her loan on the old structure but she needs a new loan to buy another and replace the foundation and utility connections. Herrin, an accounting associate at Wal-Mart, said she's having difficulty getting a loan despite having a high credit score.
"I can barely get through a week without breaking down," she said.
"We're grieving," Coulter said of herself and the town.
Thalhamer expects to have 90 percent of the ash and debris removed by
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