Fire rehab spending to exceed $3 million

Carson City has shelled out nearly $300,000 on rehabilitation efforts since July's Waterfall fire, with plans to spend $3 million more on several fire recovery projects.

"We've got 20 different projects under way," said Carson City Development Services Director Andy Burnham, "and all of them have been tentatively approved by FEMA."

For every dollar the city spends, 75 cents will be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, up to $2.6 million.

The federal government committed funds in September when FEMA declared the Waterfall fire a "major disaster."

The wildfire, started by a smoldering campfire, burned 8,723 acres and 18 homes in west Carson City between July 14-20.

In order to secure the full $2.6 million from FEMA, the city needs to spend $3.47 million for rehabilitation efforts.

"We're looking at spending at least $1 million in city moneys on suppression and rehab," Burnham said.

Aerial and drill reseeding and placement of log erosion barriers and straw wattles throughout the city's burned west-side canyons has contributed to the bulk of funds already spent out of the city's general fund.

"We've spent a lot on smaller projects," Burnham said.

A report by the Burned Area Emergency Response Team, or BAER, outlined repairs necessary to restore the local watershed.

Repairs include road repair, installation of more than 3,500 log erosion barriers, removal of 113 hazardous trees in the urban interface, protection of critical water pipelines that feed Virginia and Carson City in Vicee Canyon and along Lakeview Road and reseeding of 5,264 acres.

As promised, 75 percent of that has been promptly reimbursed by FEMA.

More expensive projects are in the planning stages, including the expansion of the Vicee Canyon drainage basin.

"We're making the hole much bigger by 15 feet," Burnham said.

The first phase of that project will cost $300,000, while the second phase - horizontally expanding the basin - will cost $1.5 million.

Plans to purchase 4.5 acres in the C Hill drainage basin for expansion are expected to cost the city at least $700,000.

The latest spending connected to the fire is $65,000 to a Carson City engineering firm, Resource Concepts, Inc., for providing technical and management support in all fire rehabilitation efforts.

The Carson City Board of Supervisors is expected to authorize payment to RCI at its next board meeting, 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

For more information about the city's fire rehabilitation efforts, go to

Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at or 881-1217.


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