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With California Wildfires Dying Down, Danger Rises From Ashes

MARYSVILLE (CBS13) — Yuba County is helping victims of the Cascade Fire get back on their feet. That fire killed four people and destroyed 143 homes. The first of three workshops was held Wednesday night to help people rebuild.

Now that the ash has settled, the reality is setting in.

“Just every emotion, separately and all at once,” said Ashley Garza. “To lose everything in one fell swoop. I didn’t know how to handle it.”

For people like Garza who’ve lost everything, the road to rebuilding can seem more like an impassable mountain.

“I don’t know the steps to rebuild,” said Garza.

Jennifer Johnson and her family also lost their home.

“There’s just so many things to do. There’s not enough hours in the day to get things done.”

Yuba County is taking some pressure off fire victims. On Wednesday, it hosted the first of a three-day workshop, offering dozens of services under one roof.

Yuba County Office of Emergency Services spokesman Russ Brown said, “So they don’t have to go wandering around for days and weeks finding things to help rebuild.”

From replacing Social Security cards and birth certificates to insurance and FEMA information, the workshop was a big relief for residents. The county also offered help to clear out what’s been destroyed.

Yuba County Community Development Director Kevin Mallen said, “It typically goes to the landfill. Some of it can be recycled, like, for example, the concrete.”

All Cascade Fire victims can sign up for a debris cleanup program which is coordinated through state and federal assistance and a property owner’s insurance company. It’s free for residents and taken care of by properly trained professionals. Mallen says residents are urged to avoid digging through the rubble, but if they do to use extreme caution.

“There are hazards that are left when something like this burns down.”

In the coming days and weeks, rubble-filled lots will be clean slates. Garza is thankful for so many pointing her in the right direction as she moves on.

“I love this community. There’s nothing that would make me want to leave. Definitely not a fire.”

The workshops will run Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Yuba County Government Center in Marysville.

More from Angela Greenwood
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