Local crews from the Imperial Irrigation Districts are working as we speak in the areas devastated by the Camp Fire but even if the flames are almost completely contained, the rebuilding phase still has no end in sight.
IID crews reached the Town of Paradise this week, the flames scorched the Northern California town and killed almost 100 people.
Harry Nelson is the lead lineman for IID, he is accompanied by a 17 worker crew to get electricity infrastructure restored.
“It’s quite a bit, right now we are just replacing poles, trying to get the main line back up and then as we get those up we work on the brass line,” Nelson said. “There’s still a few homes and businesses that are still here but for the most part it’s all been pretty much burned up.”
Nelson said it has rained for the majority of time they have been working in Paradise.
Rain sounds helpful during a fire, but it is not the case for this community. A flash flood warning was placed into effect on Wednesday for almost one million people who were at risk of running debris and floodwaters.
Nelson said, “But the rain is probably the big factor, it makes hard on the guys working, you know trying to grab things that are slippery, your hands are wet, you’re wet.”
Nelson and his crew work from 6 AM to ten at night, the work is part of a mutual aid agreement in place by most utilities.
He said, “Something would of happened in the valley and they call for mutual aid, they’ll send their people to help us too.”
The crews sacrificed family time this Thanksgiving Day but they spent it among community in need.
Nelson said he missed a very special day while being away, but he said duty calls.
He said, “Thanksgiving day was my anniversary, it fell on this year so I made sure to call my wife first thing in the morning.”
The Imperial Irrigation District utility crew will be on the job at Paradise for about two weeks, but nelson said it is hard to put a time-line on the work that still remains ahead.