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Home debris removal begins

Napa County’s big wildfire clean-up effort to remove the ashen remains of more than 500 burned-out homes is hitting the road.

Those who lost homes can either let the government haul away the debris or do the job themselves. George Porter decided he’d do it himself and as soon as possible.

“I don’t make a good victim,” Porter said. “I needed to take control of things.”

On Monday, a work crew from Krueger Bros. and Deming’s Demolition readied the cinders of Porter’s house to be trucked to Clover Flat Landfill near Calistoga in coming days.

The Atlas Fire turned Porter’s house from a multi-million-dollar Silverado stunner into wreckage. An 18-foot-tall stone arch that had been an entry feature to luxury now leads to an ash pit.

The Atlas Fire broke out the night of Oct. 8 and swept south toward Silverado. Porter and his wife, Kali, evacuated their house as the fire descended a nearby hill, a sight he compares to a thousand people with flamethrowers advancing.

But they didn’t know their home’s fate until the next day. Kali Porter saw the house burning on television, with the flames framed by the stone arch.

On Monday, the stone arch finally came down, felled by the jaws of a bulldozer. It was no longer structurally sound and had to be removed anyway to make room for the big, debris-hauling equipment.

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