Wildfires

The National Interagency Fire Center logged at least 48 large fires in 12 states last summer in the United States. When conditions set the stage for fire disaster, heavy equipment helps battle blazes. Putting in fire breaks to slow fire advancement, creating a safe area where firefighters can conduct burnout operations, and clearing out damaged trees are just some of the ways heavy machinery is necessary to fighting wildfires in the United States and abroad.

After the largest wildfire in state history burned more than 538,000 acres of eastern Arizona forest, the Arizona Department of Transportation and other groups launched a partnership in 2014 that included easing weight restrictions on certain state highways to help timber companies remove small trees and other vegetation that could fuel catastrophic fires.

The devastating fires in northern California have long been doused, but clean-up efforts will likely be ongoing for another year. As many as 19,000 structures on 14,000 properties were destroyed. Of those property owners, 11,000 have signed up with the California Debris Removal Program, which charges no out of pocket costs.

Disaster struck California this year as devastating wild fires swept through towns and cities, leaving historic destruction in their wake. But the building began as soon as the fires were out. Bejac Corporation was on hand to help, working with trusted contractors and deploying Link-Belt machines to help hard hit areas move forward.

On the morning of Nov. 8, Nolan Merrifield, senior equipment operator of the Butte County, Calif., Public Works Department, headed up into the foothills above Paradise to do some roadwork. Midway there, Merrifield turned and saw a plume of smoke, then he got a call.

The Trump administration declared on Aug. 5 that “a major disaster exists” in California as a spate of wildfires — at least 17 separate blazes covering more than 600,000 acres of land — continue to destroy private homes and transportation infrastructure, as well as causing other damage across the northern and western parts of the state.

When disaster strikes, the construction industry is notorious for pulling together and helping communities get back on their feet. Among hurricanes, floods and wildfires alone, 2017 saw more than its share of natural disasters. But after each one, industry leaders jumped in, first to demolish the damage, and then to rebuild, helping to make the affected areas even stronger than before.

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) Government officials outlined plans for what they said will be the largest fire clean-up in California history, aimed at removing hazardous substances and ash from 8,400 homes and other structures burned in Northern California wildfires.