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After a destructive wildfire, flash floods and debris flows; the long cleanup from the Dollar Ridge Fire begins

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Posted at 6:49 PM, Jul 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-27 20:49:51-04

DUCHESNE COUNTY, Utah -- Residents are cleaning up after the devastating Dollar Ridge Fire which burned more than 50,000 acres of land in Wasatch and Duchesne Counties.

Thursday, flash floods sent water and debris down the Strawberry River which backed up near Camelot Resort, and washed out the banks and onto neighboring land.

“There was like an inch-and-a-half almost or more rain in less than 20 minutes,” Bob Layton, whose house burned down in the fire said. “When you get that much water in that many minutes and there’s no vegetation, it’s running down the roads like it’s running on concrete.”

Layton is a former firefighter for Salt Lake City. He said seeing the remains of his house in ashes and surrounded with mud is devastating.

“I can’t talk about anything right now,” Layton said emotionally. “It’s hard to look at this stuff and now the silt and the mud is here, I have no idea where to clean up—at least I had an idea before.”

Layton’s neighbors brought in bulldozers and a dump truck to clean up the remains of their family cabin.

“We built this cabin thirty six years ago,” Beverley Caldwell said, surrounded by her children and grandchildren amidst the charred debris. Caldwell said her cabin was a place where church members came, family and church missionary reunions were held.

“They had enjoyed having chicken and potatoes up here,” Caldwell recalled.

Friday, church members helped Caldwell and her family clean up. Even though Caldwell’s children explained they were going to wait for a while before they decided if they would rebuild, Caldwell said she hopes “to fix this up soon so that we can invite all the workers up for a nice dinner.”

As for Layton, he said on Wednesday, he plans to meet with a contractor to draw up designs for a new home.

“My wife and I have talked about it, and we’re not going to dwell in the past,” Layton said.