Workers scramble to keep a holiday tradition alive after California's wildfires

The ice rink in Paradise, California, attracts more than 20,000 skaters each season, an official says.

(CNN)The Camp Fire devastated Paradise, California, and the surrounding community, but it's not stopping one popular holiday tradition.

Workers have been scrambling all week to get the city's ice skating rink ready to open Saturday.
The city has run the rink every year since 2012, and Paradise Recreation and Park District Manager Dan Efseaff told CNN that it attracts more than 20,000 skaters each season.
Efseaff said his staff was getting ready to open the rink when the Camp Fire started November 8.
    The fire was the deadliest and most destructive in California history. It burned more than 153,000 acres in Butte County, killing at least 86 people and destroying almost 14,000 homes and 5,000 other buildings.
    Efseaff was one of the few on his staff who didn't lose a home.
    "The ice rink was the lowest priority for us," he said. "That is until the evacuation orders were lifted -- when it became evident that it was something that our citizens needed, to help see a centerpiece for the community still standing."
    There was no electricity, gas or water at the site when crews got started, and the fire had been so intense it melted a plastic septic line that had to be replaced. Workers also had to clear out burned benches, tables, pads, playground bark and other debris to get the rink ready.
    The department's shop burned to the ground as the blaze destroyed most tools, six or seven vehicles, tractors and even the Zamboni used to smooth out the ice, Efseaff said.
    Workers will clear the ice by hand until they can get a new machine.
    Staffing has also been an issue.
    "Most of our staff lost homes and were difficult to get a hold of," he said. "Some are staying too far away to work or have to attend to other issues."