The Rim Fire burned 400 square miles mostly in Tuolumne County from the middle of August to the end of September.
Fallen trees, barren ground, and damaged roads made the prospect of cleanup uncertain with winter on the way.
Pam Baltimore of the U.S. Forest Service says the drought has actually been a help because recovery crews haven't been hampered by normal winter weather.
"They had just a couple of days, the first part of December, that they were not able to get in but the snow went away quickly and they've been able to get in and out as they need to," says Baltimore.
Baltimore says crews are installing culverts to aid runoff and they're clearing debris.
The Rim Fire was the third largest fire in California's history and Baltimore says even short term recovery could take two to five years.
The watch continues to see if El Niño conditions will develop to help ease California's drought. But so far, only a weak El Niño is expected.
(AP) -- California officials say they've found a way to pay for building the twin tunnels that would send water around the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The City of Sacramento is moving closer to meeting a mandate for water meters at the city's 136,000 residences.
A coalition of California environmental, labor and business groups, and local government officials launched a campaign Thursday to fight an effort to overturn the statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags.
Critics claim the Nestlé water bottling plant is draining Sacramento's water supply and marking it up for profit at a time when the on-going drought is reducing supply.