Listed below are recent posts across all of CalRecyle's blogs.
The latest wildfires in California have left more than 80 people dead, 161,000 acres burned, and more than 10,000 homes and structures destroyed. But as changing weather patterns and the tireless work of firefighters help boost containment lines, communities devastated by the fires now face potential health risks associated with the improper handling of fire debris.
Returning residents should avoid extensive sweeping or sifting through ash or debris before cleanup by designated agencies begins. Exposure to ash, soot, and other hazardous material left in the wake of wildfires can cause serious and potentially deadly health problems.
Fire ash contains tiny particles of dust, dirt, and soot that can be inhaled if the ash becomes airborne. These particles could contain trace amounts of metals like lead, cadmium, nickel and arsenic; asbestos from older homes or other buildings; perfluorochemicals (from degradation of non-stick cookware, for example); flame retardants; and caustic materials. In addition to irritating your skin, nose, and throat, substances like asbestos, nickel, arsenic, and cadmium have been known to cause cancer.
- Experts say it’s best to avoid any activity that disturbs the debris or kicks ash and associated chemicals into the air.
- Those working directly with wildfire debris are advised to wear gloves, long shirts and pants, and other clothing to help prevent skin contact.
- It’s best to change shoes and clothing once off-site to avoid contaminating other areas.
- Masks certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health are also recommended when exposure to wildfire dust or ash can’t be avoided.
CalEPA recommends NIOSH-certified air-purifying respirator masks, which can be found at most hardware stores. A mask rated N-95 is much more effective than simpler dust or surgical masks in blocking particles from ash. Although smaller sized masks may appear to fit a child’s face, none of the manufacturers recommend their use for children. If children are in an area that warrants wearing a mask, they should be moved to an environment with cleaner air.
Safe sifting through your property will NOT jeopardize your claims for disaster assistance. However, property owners are advised against initiating actual cleanup activities or significantly disturbing the debris by moving it to other areas. Expanding the ash footprint on the property creates additional safety hazards and expenses during the cleanup process. Contact your local officials for further guidance on these activities.Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Nov 28, 2018
After a wildfire, the process involved in cleaning up damaged property, clearing debris, and rebuilding can be overwhelming. Residents and local governments are inundated with tasks and projects that must be completed in an orderly manner. In response to a declared State of Emergency and a request for assistance from a local government, the California Office of Emergency Services regularly tasks CalRecycle with managing debris removal operations and preparing residential properties for rebuilding by homeowners.
CalRecycle is currently mission-tasked by CalOES to manage debris removal operations for the Carr Fire in Shasta County, the Klamathon Fire in Siskiyou County, and the Mendocino Complex Fire and the Pawnee Fire, both in Lake County.
In Shasta County, 1,046 homeowners have registered for the program; debris removal is complete on 723 sites, and 119 of those have been approved for redevelopment.
In Siskiyou County, debris removal is complete on all 49 properties registered for the program.
In Lake County, 146 homeowners registered for the Mendocino Complex debris removal program; debris removal is complete on 86 properties.
Homeowners have returned 15 signed Right of Entry forms for the Pawnee Fire cleanup; debris removal is complete on nine properties.Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Nov 5, 2018
Frequently Asked Questions About Right-of-Entry (ROE) Forms and Insurance
What is the Consolidated Debris Removal Program?
CalRecycle implements California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program under the leadership of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and local governments. The state-run program and its contractors and consultants are managed by CalRecycle experts with more than a decade of experience in disaster debris removal.
The Consolidated Debris Removal Program has two phases: removal of household hazardous waste and removal of other fire-related debris.
- In phase one, the city/county will join the California State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and its contractors as crews inspect your property and remove any household hazardous waste that may pose a threat to human health, animals, and the environment such as batteries, asbestos siding, and paints. This phase is mandatory under local emergency declarations.
- In phase two, CalOES and local officials coordinate with CalRecycle to execute contracts and conduct fire-related debris removal from your property at no out-of-pocket costs to homeowners. The voluntary program covers asbestos testing and removal; site assessments and documentation; removal of all burned debris, foundations, ash, and contaminated soil; air monitoring and dust control; soil sampling; soil re-scraping (as needed); erosion control installation; and final inspection. Homeowners must sign and return Right-of-Entry forms to their local governments to participate.
What is a Right of Entry Form?
A Right-of-Entry (ROE) form gives permission to the city/county and state to access your property for the purpose of cleanup activities. By signing an ROE form, you are signing up to participate in the program. The form extends permission to CalRecycle and its contactors to perform the cleanup work. Contact city/county officials to get a Right-of-Entry form.
If I missed the ROE deadline for my county may I still submit one?
ROEs submitted after the deadline must be reviewed on a case–by-case basis by the city/county.
(Note: For ROE deadlines and background information, please see our previous post.)
When will crews be on my property?
Due to the high volume of program participants, we are unable to give property owners an exact date for their cleanup. However, you will receive a call from between 24-48 hours before the removal takes place.
Can I be present during the cleanup of their personal property?
Owners do not need to be present but are welcome to view the cleanup on their property from a safe distance. To prevent safety hazards, the public is encouraged to stay away from areas where debris removal operations are underway. Exclusion zones will be established surrounding the work area to ensure the safety of the public and workers.
Is the debris removal program only for houses that are completely destroyed?
The Consolidated Debris Removal Program is for destroyed houses, as directed by CalOES and the local government. If you are unsure if your house qualifies for the debris removal program, submit a Right-of-Entry form to your local government for assessment.
Will debris removal crews be looking for code violations or other property infractions?
No. Debris removal crews are on properties to perform specific operations related to the removal of contaminated soil, ash/debris, concrete, and metals.
Who will pay for the debris removal?
All initial costs will be paid by state and federal agencies. However, if property owners have insurance that specifically covers debris removal, owners must inform their local officials. To avoid duplication of benefits, homeowners are required to remit a portion of insurance claim payments specifically reserved for debris removal.
What portion of my homeowner’s policy will the city/county collect for debris removal?
It depends on the policy that you have. There are generally two types of debris removal coverages in a homeowner’s insurance policy:
- Specified Amount: One type of debris removal insurance coverage contains a separate, specific debris clause, typically capped at a percentage of the coverage amounts listed in the policy (for example, 5 percent of the value of a primary structure, other structure, and personal property.) In this case, the city/county will only collect from your insurance policy the specified amount designated in the debris removal clause. You will not owe the county any additional money, even if the actual costs to remove the debris exceed the amount designated in your insurance policy for debris removal.
- No Specified Amount: Another type of debris removal insurance policy does not have a specified amount but includes the costs of debris removal in the total proceeds provided for the primary structure, other structure, or personal property. If you have this type of policy, the city/county will only attempt to collect insurance proceeds for debris removal after you have rebuilt your home. The county will only collect any money that remains in your insurance policy, if any, after the rebuild. The homeowner will not owe the county any additional money for debris removal.
Note: Property owners may be able to first utilize debris removal insurance claim payments for debris removal work that is outside the scope of the state-managed program, such as the removal of pools and driveways, and trees/fencing/outbuildings outside the ash footprint. Contact your insurance provider for specifics on your policy.
If I participate in the Consolidated Debris Removal Program, will the city/county have the right to take all of my insurance proceeds?
No. The city/county will only seek reimbursement from the insurance carrier as stated above.
Can I do my own work or hire my own contractor?
Yes. 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. The city/county will require the same work practices, proper cleanup to comparable standards, and safe disposal requirements as the state-managed operations. Available state funding will only pay for work done through the state-run program. Contact your local government for more information on private cleanups.
Where do I find answers to other questions I have about the debris removal program?
If you have any questions regarding the Consolidated Debris Removal Program, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact local representatives at the Debris Removal Operations Center in your community.
Shasta Co. Debris Removal Operations Center
1300 Hilltop Drive
Redding, CA 96003
Siskiyou Co. Debris Removal Operations Center
1312 Fairlane Road
Yreka, CA 96097
Lake Co. Debris Removal Operations Center
898 Lakeport Boulevard
Lakeport, CA 96453Posted on In the Loop by Lance Klug on Sep 24, 2018