Officials Remind Property Owners Doing Own Debris Removal After Opting into State’s Consolidated Program Face Disqualification

State officials coordinating the removal of debris caused by last year’s wildfires are reminding property owners participating in the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program that performing any debris removal work themselves once state contractors have begun will result in their disqualification from the state program.

Under the state program, administered by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, property owners incur no direct costs for participation.

Debris officials are also cautioning participating owners that the removal of debris from the properties is not the end of the process and that state contractors must complete additional work on their properties before owners can begin reconstruction.

Once a state crew has cleared a property of eligible debris, the surveying contractor will return to the site and collect soil samples for testing at a state certified laboratory to verify that the samples taken from an owner’s property meet state environmental health and safety criteria.  So far, state laboratories have approved soil samples for 357 of the 1,545 properties statewide cleared of eligible fire debris.

If the soil samples meet state environmental and safety criteria, contractors then install fiber rolls and apply a virgin-based, biodegradable mulch to every cleared property whose owners have opted to have contractors implement the two types of erosion control measures.   To date, state crews have completed erosion control work on 174 cleared properties.

Following these erosion control measures, state officials and staff conduct a walkthrough of the property to ensure that all work done by state crews meets the state’s standard.  If work meets the state standards, debris officials submit a final inspection report to local officials, clearing the way for the property owner to begin reconstruction.

To date, state debris officials have submitted final inspection reports on 131 properties to authorities in the affected counties.

Debris removal officials urge participating property owners who are unsure where they are in the debris removal process to check the Debris Operations Dashboard for the 2020 statewide wildfires. The dashboard 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.

Diana Crofts-Pelayo

Diana Crofts-Pelayo joined the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) in 2020 after helping lead the communications strategy for the 2020 Census in California. Since joining Cal OES, she has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the historic 2020 wildfires and the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, she was a Governor's Appointee and a Communications Director for the California State Senate.

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