The Caughlin Fire destroyed more than 30 homes. For many of the homeowners directly affected by the fire, the question is "what's next?"
On Wednesday night, Washoe County officials held a presentation ready to answer that question.
A lot of restoration plans are in the works, and officials say it will take a lot of money, time and effort. But, they want to prevent anything like this from happening again.
"We need to know how to make our development fire-proof," says Ronnie Bialik, whose home was damaged in the fire.
That's exactly what city and county officials are hoping to accomplish. Wednesday night's presentation gave the public an idea of "what's next."
Lynda Nelson with Washoe County Department of Parks and Recreation says restoring the burned areas of Manzanita Canyon, Evans creek and Windy Hill are top priorities.
She says restoring 2,000 acres will take a community effort.
"The cooperation from private property owners that we desperately need," says Nelson. "Of the 2,000 acres, only 100 of those acres were public land."
Reno Fire Department Fire Marshal Joan Presley says that's why keeping homeowners educated on these issues is important.
"Provide them some information about the vegetation around their properties, so that they can tell what can be saved, and what can't be saved," she says.
If all goes as planned, work on the Windy Hill and Bartley Ranch area would begin next week.
This restoration won't come cheap. Re-seeding one acre of land costs $1,500. That means this project would cost over $1 million. So, this Friday, officials are proposing a $125,000 dollar grant from the Truckee River Fund. From there, the fundraising will continue.
"We're talking about a sustained effort," says Presley. "We'll be working together over the Winter and into the Spring."
While restoration work on burned land should begin soon, so should work on damaged homes. Starting Friday, homeowners and businesses affected by the fire can get federal disaster assistance loans.
The U.S. Small Business Administration declared the fire a disaster, making low-interest loans available. You can apply at the Washoe County Disaster Outreach Center at 450 Sinclair St.
Starting Friday, they'll be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Dec. 23 when they'll close at 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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