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County gets half-million for Rich Fire damage

Joshua Sebold
Staff Writer

Community Development Commission (CDC) Executive Director David Keller announced at a December CDC board meeting that the county would be receiving $526,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Disaster Recovery Initiative.

Keller said $150,000 would defray costs on the safety element of the county General Plan update, while other funds would go to various work in the Tobin area to address damage caused by the Rich Fire in 2008.

Keller successfully lobbied for Federal Emergency Management Agency funds that were previously used to pay for work on the Tobin water system.

Plumas Corporation Executive Director John Sheehan told the commission these funds would pay for the remaining costs from the water system repairs along with forestry and erosion mitigation work.

Keller thanked Sheehan and County Planning Director Randy Wilson for their work on the funding application.

The CDC director also told the board he approached the U.S. Forest Service about funding for work in the nearby Rush Creek area, at Indian Valley Commissioner Robert Meacher's request.

He indicated the request was gaining ground within the Forest Service.

Sheehan said the effort began by using Title III funds to have a forester inspect the fire damage near Tobin and Rush Creek.

He said it quickly became apparent Rush Creek wouldn't fit into the Disaster Recovery Initiative application, so that part was presented to the Forest Service as a request for funds from the Rich Fire settlement with Union Pacific.

The Rich Fire was attributed to welding work by the railroad, leading to a $17.4 million settlement with the Plumas National Forest (PNF).

Sheehan said the PNF forwarded the county's request for $629,000 from that pool to the regional office for work to restore damage near Rush Creek.

He added that the PNF recommended the request be approved but the county would have to wait for the regional office to make a final decision.

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