Crews managed by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery have begun the removal of wildfire ash, debris, and contaminated soil on burned properties following a historic series of wildfires in Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura counties. Over the next year, crews will work six-days-a-week to clear more than 15,000 properties destroyed in Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires as part of the largest disaster debris removal operation in modern California history.
“Our responsibility, first and foremost, is to protect the health and safety of affected residents and their environment, and ultimately put wildfire survivors and their communities in position to rebuild,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “As we have in all previous CalRecycle-managed debris operations across the state, CalRecycle continues to work alongside local communities to ensure cleanups are conducted with dedication to safety, integrity, and transparency.”
California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program
Implemented under the leadership of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and local governments, the Consolidated Debris Removal Program offers survivors of the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires a streamlined option to clear burned properties to the highest standards.
Phase 1: Crews managed by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and U.S. EPA remove household hazardous waste such as paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, pesticides, compressed cylinders and tanks, and easily identifiable asbestos. Phase 1 HHW removal is now 99 percent complete in Butte County and 99 percent complete in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Phase 2: CalRecycle oversees and manages contractors to conduct the following operations, including the removal of wildfire ash, debris, and contaminated soil, at no out-of-pocket cost to property owners.
Step 1 – Site Assessment and Documentation
- Conduct background soil sampling to establish cleanup goals for the property; identify and remove any remaining asbestos-containing materials
- Measure and record foundation, structures, debris, utility infrastructure, and property-specific hazards
Step 2 – Debris Removal
- Remove, transport, and properly dispose all burnt debris, ash, and contaminated soil; recycle concrete and metal
- Handle and track materials separately to ensure operational and fiscal accountability
Step 3 – Confirmation Sampling
- Collect multiple soil samples from cleared lot for independent testing and analysis by California-certified laboratories
- Assess soil sample results (CalRecycle) to ensure cleanup goals are met; rescrape soil from portions of the parcel as necessary
Step 4 – Erosion Control Measures
- Implement storm water best management practices to help control sediment runoff
Step 5 – Final Inspection
- Conduct final walk-through of the property (CalRecycle). Deliver Notice of Final Approval to the County for acceptance.
Phase 2 of California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program is a voluntary option offered at no out-of-pocket cost to property owners. To participate, owners must grant cleanup crews access to their properties by returning signed Right-of-Entry agreements to their local governments by the recently extended deadline of February 15, 2019.
Phase 2 Progress Report as of February 7, 2019
|Order of Operations||Butte County
|Los Angeles County (Woolsey)||Ventura County (Woolsey/Hill)|
|ROEs Received by County||10,543||1,116||109|
|Step 1 – Site Assessment and Documentation|
|Asbestos surveys completed||1,651||199||52|
|Step 2 – Debris Removal|
|Debris removal completed||9||0||0|
|Step 3 – Confirmation Sampling|
|Sample results approved||0||0||0|
|Step 4 – Erosion Control Measures|
|Erosion control completed||0||0||0|
|Step 5 – Final Inspection|
|Final inspection completed||0||0||0|
Affected residents can find answers to their questions about the Phase 2 debris removal process by emailing inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting local representatives at the Debris Removal Operations Center (DROC) in their community:
Butte County DROC Los Angeles County/Ventura County DROC
2805 Esplanade 26610 Agoura Road
Chico, CA 95973 Calabasas, CA 91302
(530) 399-0434 (626) 979-5370
Property owners who wish to conduct their own cleanup or hire private contractors to remove wildfire debris may do so, but they should be aware of local safety and environmental standards and requirements. Find more information on alternate cleanup programs and find additional resources for wildfire survivors on the following local recovery websites: