Marc Albert | North State Public Radio
Some Paradise evacuees will be allowed to return to their properties next week, but it’s going to be more like homesteading than a homecoming.
No electricity, impassible roads, iffy water and failed septic systems are likely to greet the so-called lucky Paradise residents upon their return. They’ll be scant services and few, if any places to buy food or fuel, and a circuitous route in and out of town.
That’s the bottom line for residents looking to resume life.
Addressing the Paradise Town Council at a special meeting Wednesday Police Chief Eric Reinbold said officials plan to reopen evacuation zones 3, and 8 through 14 by the middle of next week.
“It’s not going to be a completely safe environment, there are going to be risks to the citizens that re-enter into the area, but we are making our best effort to make that safe,” Reinbold said.
Residents of the rest of the town will have a longer wait. The balance of residential areas will take a back seat to the town’s commercial core where repair crews will head next.
Many roads will remain closed as crews replace power lines and repair culverts damaged extensively enough that several important roads are undermined.
Reinbold said being back won’t be easy.
"If you don’t have power, water and gas, those are some pretty basic essentials, that’s going to be a choice those folks are going to have to make on their own," he said.
Officials said Pentz Road will be the only route in or out.
Officials have warned that toxic materials, including asbestos, heavy metals and lead could be present on burnt properties and have cautioned residents against camping out on home sites. County officials have no plan to prevent people from doing so, though Paradise may consider an ordinance next month setting restrictions.