Owners of properties impacted by the 2020 wildfires now have until February 15 to sign up for the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program. State officials extended the deadline due to the impact of Coronavirus and last week’s damaging weather conditions on local response operations throughout the state.
The program, administered by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and CalRecycle, is an opt-in program. Participating property owners incur no direct costs for the removal of eligible debris, which includes ash, metal and concrete, as well as foundations. Interested property owners, including those who do not have debris removal insurance coverage, simply need to submit a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form to their respective county. The ROE grants state contractors access to the property.
One of the great aspects of the program is that the state does all the work. The states hires the contractors, who conduct all site and asbestos assessments, as well as asbestos abatements if they are needed. State contractors remove any burned metal, concrete, ash and contaminated soil, as well as burned trees deemed hazardous. The program also includes soil sampling and analysis, as well as erosion control.
Because property owners cannot begin rebuilding until all wildfire debris and/or hazardous trees have been removed, it is critical that they opt in to the state program today.
As the hours for opting into the program count down, contracted workers throughout the state continue to make progress, conducting site and asbestos assessments, abating asbestos containing materials and clearing debris on participating properties.
To date, debris removal crews have cleared nearly 670 properties of eligible fire debris statewide. They also have completed 2,800 site and asbestos assessments, as well as nearly 700 asbestos abatements and nearly 1,500 hazardous tree assessments. Soil samples for nearly 140 cleared properties have been approved.
Wildfire survivors participating in the Consolidated Debris Removal Program can now access an informational dashboard that provides details of the cleanup progress.
This Debris Operations Dashboard for the 2020 statewide wildfires is updated every hour and provides users with the ability to sort by branch or county via the filters at the top of the page. Users can also search by address via the magnifying glass icon at the top of the map to learn of the debris removal status of their property.
Property owners can opt out of the state program and do the work themselves or hire a private contractor by opting in to the local debris removal program. Work done by property owners who opt out of the state program or their contractors will have to meet the same safety and environmental standards as those of the state program.
In August alone, the fires impacted 18 counties statewide, then in September, another 10 counties, with a total of 4.1 million acres burned. Even with record-breaking numbers, cleanup crews are continuing to make progress.
Recovery resources are available at wildfirerecovery.ca.gov where property owners can find direct links to county ROE forms, contact information for each affected county, as well as additional information about the state’s consolidated debris removal program.