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Rim Fire Emergency Improvements Approved

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Sonora, CA — Work will get underway tomorrow to fix damage from the Rim Fire that could wash out a stretch of Evergreen road. The Tuolumne Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to suspend the competitive bid process because of the emergency nature of the work, and award the contract to Ford Construction. The company will make $145,000 in emergency improvements to the Ackerson Creek Crossing.

The Rim Fire did extensive damage to the watershed of the Tuolumne River and impacted many of its tributaries, including Ackerson Creek. Hydrologists from the Forest Service have evaluated the effects of the Rim Fire on storm water runoff, and are projecting the Ackerson Creek runoff to be around three-times its normal rate. If this occurs, there is a high probability that the storm water will wash out a stretch of Evergreen Road.

Board Chair Randy Hanvelt says, “In my view it is not an option. It’s essential. If we don’t do this we are at risk because this storm is going to come. Once the ground is saturated and you get a heavy storm, three-times the flow may be on the short side in my view. Losing that road and then trying recovery is just an impossibility.”

The loss of Evergreen Road would impact several entities, so the project would be a joint effort between the county, Stanislaus National Forest, Yosemite National Park and San Francisco. All will contribute funding to the project. It will start on November 13th and should be completed by November 28.

The Board also decided unanimously to continue the Local State of Emergency Declaration until there is a final decision on a major disaster declaration from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied a request by California’s Governor for a major disaster declaration to help with public assistance due to the Rim Fire last week. That decision is being appealed.