Largest Wildfire Debris Removal Operation in California History Moved a Half Million Tons Thus Far

Teams Across Northern California Expediting Recovery

Just over two months after some of the most destructive fires in state history hit Northern California in October, which destroyed 8,900 structures and damaged thousands more, the debris removal program has reached a major milestone. To date, debris removal operations teams have moved more than 573,000 tons from the wildfire burn areas.

Within the quarter-million burned acres, massive amounts of debris were left behind for clean-up. These fires also left behind thousands of parcels with hazardous waste materials. The State and Federal Consolidated Debris Removal Program has been working daily to provide survivors of the fires with a clean home site to continue their personal rebuilding plans and community-wide economic recovery.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) are part of the Consolidated Debris Removal Program established by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Both USACE and CalRecycle continue to manage numerous teams to quickly remove fire debris in areas where homeowners have signed up for the program.


COUNTY (Lead Agency) DEBRIS REMOVED (tons)
Sonoma (USACE) 405,000
Napa (USACE) 78,000
Mendocino (USACE) 31,000
Lake (USACE) 15,400
Butte (CalRecycle) 7,300
Yuba (CalRecycle) 26,200
Nevada (CalRecycle) 10,900


In Napa and Sonoma Counties, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) was chiefly responsible for the hazardous household waste (HHW) removal and 99.8% of the parcels have been surveyed and waste collected. The California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) has completed about 98% of HHW collection and removal field work in Mendocino, Lake, Butte, Yuba and Nevada Counties.

The Debris Removal Program is voluntary and homeowners were asked to sign a Right-of-Entry form to participate. Homeowners who did not opt-in were required to submit a plan and remove the debris in accordance with city/county standards.

Cal OES is working with state and federal partners of the Debris Removal Program to complete debris removal operations by early 2018.

If you have more questions on the State and Federal Consolidated Debris Removal Program or other questions on the fire recovery efforts, please visit the statewide public information website Links to the individual county programs and services can be found on that site.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also has a public information line at 877-875-7681. U.S. EPA also have a wildfire response information here.

One thought on “Largest Wildfire Debris Removal Operation in California History Moved a Half Million Tons Thus Far

  • December 18, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    When will there be help for Ventura Ca residents?


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