Depending on the circumstances and extent of damage caused by a wildfire, local government jurisdictions develop a coordinated approach to fire debris cleanup. This could involve:
- Establishment of standards for cleanup (based on public health and safety findings from prior fires).
- Local government contracting and management of debris removal from private properties for those entities voluntarily participating in the coordinated program.
- The use of State-contracted cleanup crews.
Local government jurisdictions choosing to coordinate a fire debris cleanup may also want to consider the following:
- Establishment of a debris removal operations center;
- Voluntary participation programs, including the right-of-entry permit, which allows a County/City/State agency to proceed with cleanup on privately owned properties;
- Household hazardous waste collection/coordination;
- Removal of landscape/vegetation;
- Erosion control.
For technical questions regarding wildfire debris and its removal, contact CalRecycle.
Disaster Waste Tracking: Jurisdictions may deduct disaster waste tonnage in their annual reports to CalRecycle so it will not negatively impact their solid waste diversion rates. In order for jurisdictions to claim this disposal reduction, it is essential that disaster waste be tracked separately from other waste at disposal facilities. For each disaster waste load received, facilities must record the tons by jurisdiction. Local government and emergency personnel have the most specific knowledge of areas that burned and facilities that are or will be receiving disaster waste. We ask that you notify all applicable facilities regarding these record-keeping needs.
The following documents provide CalRecycle guidance for local disaster response efforts:
- Local Enforcement Agency Advisory #43--Disaster Assistance. Guidance on disaster debris management, including selecting and securing temporary storage sites.
- Local Enforcement Agency Guidance Emergency Waiver of Standards.
- Integrated Waste Management Disaster Plan. CalRecycle’s 1997 plan contains information and case studies that can assist local governments in recovery efforts. Please go to the FEMA website for up-to-date information on reimbursement requirements.
- Asbestos-Containing Ash and Disaster Debris. Solid waste landfills accepting ash or other disaster debris that contains greater than 1 percent friable asbestos by weight that are not already permitted to accept such waste must obtain an emergency waiver specific to this waste type pursuant to the procedure set forth in California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Division 7, Chapter 3, Article 3. Where the Enforcement Agency has issued a waiver, the ash or debris containing greater than 1 percent friable asbestos should be handled in accordance with California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 17897.18 “Design and Operating Requirements” for solid waste facilities that dispose of asbestos-containing waste.
- Rebuilding Green. CalRecycle's fact sheet provides ideas that can save or reduce resources in five categories: site, water, energy, materials, and indoor environmental quality as you rebuild your home after a disaster.
- CalRecycle Local Assistance and Market Development Contacts. CalRecycle's Local Assistance staff can help local governments locate disaster debris processors and sample disaster debris contracts and ordinances.
- Local Enforcement Agency (LEA) Directory
- CalRecycle Permitting and Enforcement Contacts for local enforcement agency (LEA) reference.