Wildfire Debris Cleanup and Recovery

Every year, California faces the threat of devastating wildfires that have the potential to claim lives, destroy property, and harm the environment. These disasters often create a significant amount of debris, which can include ash, metal, concrete, building materials, contaminated soil and hazardous materials. Disaster debris must be removed and properly managed to reduce threats to public health and safety, protect the environment, and help communities recover and rebuild.

California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program is implemented under the leadership of the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) and local governments.

FACT SHEET: What you need to know before you return to your property

CalOES: Wildfire Recovery Resources


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Contractors and Subcontractors

For information about current contract solicitations and other opportunities with CalRecycle on debris removal and related projects, visit our Contracts page.

Current Wildfire Debris Cleanup Projects

Cal OES has tasked CalRecycle to manage wildfire debris removal operations throughout the state.

2021 Wildfire Season

Mobilization has begun for structural debris and hazard tree removal operations including the Dixie, Caldor, Monument, Tamarack, Lava, Antelope, River, River Complex, Hopkins, French, Washington and Cache Fires. Property owners should contact their local county or city for details on enrolling in this government-financed disaster recovery program.

For more information on 2021 recovery services visit Cal OES.

2020 Wildfire Season

Structural debris removal is complete for the 25-county. 3,600-property wildfire recovery effort. Hazard tree removal and soil testing continues. Track the progress on Cal OES’ interactive program map here.

General Information

CalRecycle is often tasked with organizing, managing, implementing, and overseeing debris removal operations in support of local governments. CalRecycle oversees and manages contractors to conduct debris removal at no out-of-pocket cost to property owners. To participate, homeowners must grant cleanup crews access to their properties by returning signed right-of-entry agreements to their local governments.

Fire clean up crew

Order of Operations

The state-managed debris removal program has two phases: 1) The removal of household hazardous waste by the Department of Toxic Substance Control, and 2) The removal of other fire-related debris by CalRecycle.

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Burnt car

Resources for Homeowners

CalRecycle has prepared resources and guidance to help affected residents with information about wildfire debris management and disposal, household hazardous waste collection and storage, and wildfire debris/ash cleanup and disposal.

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Fire clean up crew

Resources for Jurisdictions

Depending on the circumstances and extent of damage caused by a wildfire, local government jurisdictions develop a coordinated approach to fire debris cleanup.

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