Camp Fire Recovery Update: March 22, 2019

The road to recovery is well underway in Butte County after the devastating Camp Fire struck last November. Debris removal, survivor housing solutions and water system restorations, have become key items to address during the recovery operation.

Steady progress in the State’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program is being made. Following a short delay due to unsafe weather conditions and oversaturated soil, debris removal operations got back into full swing Monday with 80 crews in the field. An additional 10 crews were added Wednesday. Debris crews have removed more than 116,000 tons of debris and cleared 401 sites.

Phase I is complete, with Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) removal completed on 13,271 parcels, and 6,183 sites have been assessed in Phase II. Here is a quick snapshot of the debris tonnage totals so far:

Total Debris Removal for the Project (3/14/2019)

Type of Waste


Tons of metals delivered/recycled


Tons of debris, ash, & soil disposed


Tons of concrete delivered/recycled


Tons of contaminated soil


Total Tons


As an additional safety measure, air quality is being monitored throughout the debris removal process. For information about debris related air quality, contact the Debris Removal Operations Center at (530) 399-0434 or Butte County Air Quality Management District.

Housing survivors is also a top priority after the Camp Fire destroyed more than 13,000 homes. In this disaster as in most, the majority of survivors will identify a long-term housing solution. We are working to increase options. Currently, 229 units are being occupied by survivor families at commercial locations, with 169 households staying in hotels/motels under the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program (TSA). Thirty of those survivors have already been able to secure permanent housing. In addition, five temporary community housing sites are being finalized, which will provide a short-term housing solution for approximately 1,300 families.

As of March 18, FEMA has approved $71.2 million for Camp Fire survivors in need of disaster assistance, and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved low-interest disaster loans tor 3,500 applicants, totaling nearly $392 million in assistance. SBA’s low-interest disaster loans are providing much needed recovery resources to businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters.

Clean water for residents is another important aspect of recovery efforts. Water systems in the Camp Fire burn area were severely damaged and Cal OES is supporting the Town of Paradise and Paradise Irrigation District in their mission to restore affected water systems. A community meeting is being held on March 26 at 6:00 PM at the Paradise Alliance Church to update the public on Paradise’s water system. Information will focus on what has been done, next steps, and answer any questions the community may have. For more information click HERE.

RJ Ghilarducci

RJ Ghilarducci is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). He joined the OES team to aid in 2018's Camp, Woolsey, Hill, and Holy Fire recoveries. He previously served on Governor Gavin Newsom's campaign, worked as a newspaper reporter, and coached Division 1 college football.

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