CalRecycle Adds Crews to Ventura County Wildfire Cleanup

First Property Cleared for Rebuilding Following Thomas Fire

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is now managing 41 private contractor crews to clear wildfire debris from affected properties in the City of Ventura and Ventura County. An additional four crews, consisting of three to five people each, began work late last week to help remove soil, ash, metal, concrete, and other debris from properties destroyed by December’s 281,893-acre Thomas Fire.

“CalRecycle is proud to work alongside our state and local partners to help clear this wildfire debris and give the resilient communities of Ventura County the opportunity to move forward,” CalRecycle Director Scott Smithline said. “At the end of this debris removal process, homeowners can be confident in knowing their properties are clean, safe, and ready for rebuilding.”

Debris Removal Operations

Phase 1 – The California Department of Toxic Substances Control removes hazardous debris such as asbestos siding or pipe insulation; paints; batteries; flammable liquids; and other materials. See the current progress here.

Phase 2 – Following the removal of hazardous debris, CalRecycle contractors began the following operations to restore fire-damaged lots to pre-fire conditions:

  • Site Documentation, Assessments, and Analysis – Began Jan. 11, 2018. Contractor crews measure and document foundation, structures, debris, utility infrastructure, and property-specific hazards. Any remaining asbestos-containing material is identified and removed. Crews obtain and evaluate background soil samples to establish cleanup goals for the project.
  • Debris Removal – Began Jan. 19, 2018. Contractor crews remove metals and concrete for recycling, and ash and contaminated soil for disposal.
  • Confirmation Sampling – Began Jan. 31, 2018. Contractor crews sample and analyze soil, compare results to program cleanup goals.
  • Erosion Control – Began Feb. 2, 2018. Contractor crews implement storm water best management practices to control sediment runoff and promote vegetation growth.

At the conclusion of the debris cleanup program, CalRecycle will provide each property owner with a certificate that verifies the lot is clean and eligible to receive a building permit from the county. CalRecycle anticipates debris removal work to be completed in all areas in April 2018. Activities related to confirmation sampling and erosion control may continue into May 2018.

Current Ventura County Wildfire Debris Removal Status 

  • Right of Entry Forms Returned: 669
  • Site Documentation/Assessments Complete: 647
  • Debris Removal Complete: 83
  • Confirmation Sampling Complete: 21
  • Erosion Control Implemented: 3
  • Final Inspection Completed: 1

Debris removal programs are implemented under the leadership of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and local governments.  CalRecycle oversees and manages contractors and consultants to conduct the debris removal at no out-of-pocket cost to homeowners. Homeowners who wish to participate must return signed Right of Entry forms to their local governments. A central Debris Removal Operations Center has been established as a resource for impacted homeowners to return Right of Entry forms and get answers to any questions or concerns.

Debris Removal Operations Center
290 Maple Court, Suite 120
Ventura, CA  93003
(805) 765-4259

Homeowners who wish to conduct their own cleanup may do so but should be aware of all safety and environmental standards and requirements. The City of Ventura and Ventura County have guidelines available for residents who wish to pursue this option. Commercial properties may be eligible for state-funded debris removal if damaged lots pose a direct threat to public health or the environment. Thus far, CalRecycle crews have been tasked with debris removal for the Hawaiian Village and Harbor View apartment complexes.

For more information about the debris cleanup program,

— Lance Klug
Posted on Feb 15, 2018

Summary: The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery is now managing 41 private contractor crews to clear wildfire debris from affected properties in the City of Ventura and Ventura County.