Wildfire Cleanup Information for Homeowners




Don’t touch or breathe ash or debris!

Toxins in the debris of burned homes include:

  • Arsenic
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Household chemicals
  • Other hazards

EVERYONE on a burned property MUST wear: 

  • A respirator or N-95 mask.
  • Gloves, long shirts and pants, shoe coverings, and safety eyewear. 

Moving or spreading debris WILL disqualify your property from this program.

Family looking at debris

Do not let your children near wildfire debris or ash.

Recovery guidance document cover page thumbnail

Getting Help After You Lose Your Home to Wildfire

Survivors’ Recovery Guide to Wildfire Debris Removal (en Español )

Wildfirerecovery.caloes.ca.gov has resources for your fire incident.

Disasterassistance.gov offers help for federally declared disasters. Or call (800) 621-3362 or TTY (800) 462-7585.

Seek more local services promoted through local flyers, media, and social media.

Fact Sheet: What You Need to Know Before You Return to Your Property  


camp fire debris cleanup

Debris Removal Has 2 Phases

Wildfire debris must be safely removed to prevent more harm to you and your community.

Phase 1: Visible household hazardous waste removal happens right away.

Phase 2: Remaining ash and debris removal follows soon after.

To Prepare

  1. Identify a long-term mailing address
  2. Gather insurance and property ownership documents

Two Cleanup Options

1. No Out-of-Pocket Cost

Enroll in a government-managed and funded program by submitting a Right-of-Entry form to the county granting access to your property.

  • State-managed cleanup has no out-of-pocket costs for property owners.
  • Rigorous protocols and testing during the state clean-up help prevent toxic debris from endangering your community’s air, water, and land.

2. Homeowner Expense

Conduct the cleanup yourself or hire a private contractor at your expense by enrolling in your county’s alternative private cleanup program. 

  • Hire and manage a private contractor at your own expense to meet debris cleanup standards and safety protocols.
  • Obtain permits and environmental OK before contractors begin work.
  • Follow county permitting and environmental rules before and during cleanup.

Don’t Forget!

  • You will primarily communicate with your county about the debris removal program.
  • Your right-of-entry form enrolls you in the government debris removal program.
  • Owners have no out-of-pocket cost for the government program.

Consolidated Debris Removal Program Information 

California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program is executed in two phases. For detailed information, visit CalRecycle’s Recovery Operations page.

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