Cal OES Completes Property Cleanup for 2021 Wildfires Statewide, Property Owners Can Rebuild


All 2,301 parcels in participating in California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program returned to county officials after completing debris removal process.

SACRAMENTO – Marking the final step in state-led debris removal efforts following last year’s wildfires, officials today announced that all work is now complete, allowing California families to officially rebuild.

Under the program, administered by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), in collaboration with county officials, all 2,301 properties that participated in the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program following last year’s statewide wildfires have been returned to local officials. Participating property owners incurred no direct costs.

“This is a significant milestone in the efforts by the state and its partners to help property owners get back on the road to recovery following last year’s devastating fires,” said Cal OES Deputy Director of Recovery Ryan Buras.

During the operation, contractors removed more than 430,000 tons of debris and more than 58,000 hazardous trees.

“Returning clean, safe properties to wildfire survivors is a critical step toward disaster recovery and CalRecycle is proud to work alongside our federal, state, local, and tribal nation partners to put these communities in a position to rebuild,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said. “As California faces more frequent and destructive climate-fueled wildfires, the experienced teams with the state-managed cleanup program stand ready to help.”

Debris Removal Process

Following the wildfires, survivors had the option to either use their own contractor or enroll in the state managed program.

Property owners opted into the program by submitting a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form to their county, which allowed the state to begin work on their property for the removal of burned metal, concrete, ash and contaminated soil from their properties.

Participating private property owners also had the option of taking part in the full debris removal program or the program’s hazardous trees only element.

Before state-hired contractors began removing burned metal, concrete and soil from properties participating in the full debris removal program, they:

  1. Conducted site assessments on each property;
  2. Conducted asbestos surveys of each property; and
  3. Removed bulk quantities of asbestos containing materials.

After contractors removed fire debris from each property in the full debris removal program, separate contractors collected soil samples from the property for analysis at a state certified laboratory to verify they met state environmental health and safety standards.

Upon confirmation by the laboratory that the soil samples met state environmental health and safety standards, contractors installed erosion control measures on properties whose owners opted for that service.

A certified forester or arborist then assessed wildfire-damaged trees on the property in danger of falling on the public or public infrastructure for removal by separate contractors.

Finally, state officials inspected the property to verify all completed work met state standards before submitting a final inspection report to local officials to approve the property for reconstruction.

California Consolidated Debris Removal Program — 2021 Wildfires Statistics

Steps County Properties Percentage
El Dorado* 764 100%
Kern 14 100%
Lake 77 100%
Lassen 48 100%
Mendocino 20 100%
Nevada 49 100%
Placer 42 100%
Plumas 686 100%
Shasta 57 100%
Siskiyou 68 100%
Tehama 20 100%
Trinity 60 100%
Tulare 21 100%
Tuolumne 12 100%
Statewide 1,943 100%
El Dorado* 939 100%
Kern 16 100%
Lake 82 100%
Lassen 48 100%
Mendocino 21 100%
Nevada 49 100%
Placer 42 100%
Plumas 853 100%
Shasta 57 100%
Siskiyou 68 100%
Tehama 25 100%
Trinity 61 100%
Tulare 22 100%
Tuolumne 13 100%
Statewide 2,301 100%

*Includes recreational residences on USFS land.

**Includes return of properties enrolled in hazardous trees only element.