Unprecedented Wildfire Debris Removal Operation In California Reaches Significant Progress Milestone

In less than a month, more than 1200 properties cleared of over 300,000 tons of debris

The consolidated debris removal program designed to help survivors of the October 2017 wildfires marked a milestone today. Just one month into the second phase of the program, Cal Recycle, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their contractors have removed fire debris from 1209 properties. The first phase that focused on removal of household hazardous waste also nears total completion.

The consolidated debris removal program was developed by Cal OES and FEMA to ensure clean-up occurs to common standards, accounting for worker and environmental safety, and facilitates faster rebuilding. Cal Recycle coordinates the second phase of debris removal operations in Butte, Nevada and Yuba counties. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers supports efforts in Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties.

The program is on track to ensure all fire debris is safely removed by early 2018. In all counties, more than 300,000 tons of fire debris have been removed.

“The debris removal program developed after October’s devastating wildfires is the largest and most complex in California since the 1906 San Francisco earthquake,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. “We are working tirelessly to get communities cleaned up so those impacted can continue with recovery and begin rebuilding,” said Ghilarducci.

FEMA Regional Administrator Bob Fenton added, “FEMA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency are committed to completing the enormous debris removal mission early next year.”

For more information about recovery from the October 2017 wildfires in northern California, please see WildfireRecovery.org and fema.gov/disaster/4344.

Kelly Huston

Kelly is a Deputy Director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). He leads a team of communications professionals working daily on a wide range of public safety issues including disaster mitigation, response and recovery.

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