Crews Accelerate Progress in Unprecedented Wildfire Cleanups

Office of Public Affairs
For Immediate Release: May 7, 2019
News Release #2019-14
Media Contact: Lance Klug

SACRAMENTO–Dry weather is enabling debris removal crews managed by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery to accelerate the cleanup of homes and businesses destroyed by the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires. Almost 200 crews, consisting of three to five workers each, are now removing wildfire ash, debris, concrete, metal, and contaminated soil from properties in Butte, Los Angeles, and Ventura counties in which homeowners are participating in the state-managed debris removal program.

  • In Butte County, 141 crews clear an average of 100 properties per day.
  • In Los Angeles and Ventura counties, 44 crews clear an average of 28 properties every three days.

“Wildfire debris removal crews are making extraordinary progress clearing remnants of these unprecedented disasters and putting these communities in a position to rebuild,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “These debris removal crews, along with local, state, and federal partner teams, are working six days a week to help restore these neighborhoods. Our objective, always, is conducting our debris removal operations safely and efficiently.”

Pre-debris removal
Debris removal
Debris removal completed

Various stages of debris removal operations in Butte County including pre-debris removal (left), active debris removal (middle) and completed lot (right).

California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program

Implemented under the leadership of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and local governments, the Consolidated Debris Removal Program offers survivors of the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires a streamlined option to clear their properties.

Following the removal of household hazardous waste from burned parcels (Phase 1), CalRecycle oversees and manages contractors to conduct Phase 2 of debris removal operations at no out-of-pocket cost to property owners. To participate, owners must grant cleanup crews access to their property by returning signed Right-of-Entry agreements to their local government.

Phase 2 Progress Report as of May 6, 201

Order of OperationsButte County (Camp)Los Angeles County (Woolsey)Ventura County (Woolsey/Hill)
Participating properties10,73483196
Step 1–Site Assessment and Documentation
Sites assessed8,80682095
Asbestos surveys completed7,056818 94
Step 2–Debris Removal
Debris removal completed2,401600 66
Step 3–Confirmation Sampling
Sample results approved726455 53
Step 4–Erosion Control Measures
Erosion control completed349 241 34
Step 5–Final Inspection
Final inspection completed299 195 15

Phase 2 Debris Removal Tonnage as of May 2, 2019

Type of WasteCamp Fire Debris RemovalWoolsey Fire (Los Angeles) Debris RemovalWoolsey/Hill Fire (Ventura) Debris Removal
Ash, debris, and soil473,656 tons182,505 tons23,075 tons
Concrete99,540 tons52,421 tons10,815 tons
Metal9,195 tons3,423 tons525 tons
Contaminated soil89,839 tons44,411 tons5,286 tons
Total672,230 tons
(1.3 billion lbs.)
282,760 tons
(565 million lbs.)
39,701 tons
(79 million lbs.)

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             
900 Fortress St.                     
Chico, CA  95973
(530) 399-0434

Los Angeles County/Ventura County DROC
26610 Agoura Road
Calabasas, CA  91302
(626) 979-5370                    

Property owners who prefer 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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