'Heroes to zeroes': CAL FIRE begins months-long damage repair efforts following Bay Area fires

There's a team in charge of repairing the environmental and structural damage that was done in order to fight the fire. CAL FIRE's David Janseen says there are at least 50 miles of dozer lines that need to be repaired on the SZU Lightning Complex alone.
ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- As firefighters gain even greater containment on the multiple large fires burning across the state, there's still weeks, if not months, of work ahead. It is work that often goes unnoticed, but is vital in preventing erosion and landslides and keeping our waterways clean.

"I called it heroes to zeroes," CAL FIRE's Fire Repair Specialist David Janseen told ABC7 News. "The heroes come and stop the fire, and the zeroes are the planes that come in after the fire to fix it. And that's what I do."

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Janssen is currently working on the SZU Lightning Complex Fire -- the second largest fire in California history, which is now 60% contained.

Janssen and his team are in charge of repairing the environmental and structural damage that was done in order to fight the fire, including fixing fire lines and fencing that may have been torn down to fight the flames.

"We're repairing the dozer lines that might have potential to cause erosion," he explained. "That erosion can make its way down into a water course and make its way down into the city's water."

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Dozers, water tankers and chippers are being brought in to do this "suppression repair" work, which Janseen said could last months.

He said there are at least 50 miles of dozer lines that need to be repaired on the SZU Lightning Complex alone.

He hopes to be done by mid-October.

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"Yesterday, I flew the line and took a lot at how many dozer lines there are," he said, "And I couldn't fathom how many miles it is."

There's also a rush to do it fast before the rain.

"We have fires like the Thomas fire a few years ago, where they had a big mud slide afterward, and that mudslide was due to a big rain that occurred," he said.

"Our primary goal is to prevent that."


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