Carson City digs its way to flood safety

City workers continue to patch up damage wrought by July's Waterfall fire - digging water basins, chopping trees and preparing for mudslides.

The latest repairs to Carson City's burned west-side landscape include enlargement of the Vicee Canyon drainage basin and tree removal in the Kings Canyon vicinity.

Carson City Manager Linda Ritter reports the city's engineering staff is making progress in digging a massive drainage basin that will greatly aid in flood prevention should heavy rain fall on the snow-covered, barren landscape and cause mudslides.

The city's plan for potential flooding from the burned canyon areas is to route floodwaters down city streets to the storm drainage system and eventually to the Carson River.

So far, 53,000 cubic yards of dirt have been removed from the Vicee Canyon basin, which is expected to catch the debris that would flow from the Carson Range in the event of a major rain storm.

In addition, $10,000 worth of damaged commercial-grade timber has been removed from Kings Canyon residential properties.

"Additional work on this area is needed in order to thin out burned timber that is too close to the streams to be done with mechanical equipment," Ritter said in a city manager's report. "It is anticipated that the remaining work can be conducted by fire- wood contractors at no additional cost to Carson City."

The city has spent nearly $300,000 on several rehabilitation projects since the Waterfall fire, with plans to spend $3 million more on dozens of fire-recovery projects.

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.

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

City officials say they plan to spend approximately $1 million in city money on suppression and rehabilitation.

Expansion of the Vicee drainage basin is one of the more expensive projects.

Development Services Director Andy Burnham said the first phase 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.

And more spending, Ritter said, is on its way.

"We have received bids for in town emergency protective measures to help against flooding associated with higher storm water flows due to the Waterfall fire," Ritter said.

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

Contact reporter Robyn Moormeister at rmoormeister@ or 888-0564.


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