Debris Removal Underway in Historic Wildfire Recovery Missions

Office of Public Affairs
For Immediate Release: January 8, 2019
News Release #2019-05
Media Contact: Lance Klug

Ash and Debris Hauled from Properties in Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura Counties

SACRAMENTO–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 an 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.

Camp Fire Phase 1 Map and Progress Report | Woolsey/Hill Fires Phase 1 Map and Progress Report

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.

Camp Fire Phase 2 Map and Progress Report | Woolsey/Hill Fires Phase 2 Map and Progress Report

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.

Download ROEs: Butte County ROEPDF download | Los Angeles County ROEPDF download | Ventura County ROE

Order of OperationsButte County (Camp)Los Angeles County (Woolsey)Ventura County (Woolsey/Hill)
ROEs Received by County10,5431,116109
Step 1–Site Assessment and Documentation    
Sites assessed  2,87327885
Asbestos surveys completed1,65119952
Step 2–Debris Removal    
Debris removal completed 900
Step 3–Confirmation Sampling    
Sample results approved000
Step 4–Erosion Control Measures   
Erosion control completed000
Step 5–Final Inspection   
Final inspection completed000

Affected residents can find answers to their questions about the Phase 2 debris removal process by emailing inquiries to debrisquestions@caloes.ca.gov or by contacting local representatives at the Debris Removal Operations Center (DROC) in their community: 

Butte County DROC 
2805 Esplanade 
Chico, CA  95973 
(530) 399-0434 

Los Angeles County/Ventura County DROC
26610 Agoura Road
Calabasas, CA  91302
(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:

For more information contact, the Office of Public Affairs, opa@calrecycle.ca.gov


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