Less Than a Week Remains for Property Owners Affected by Hopkins, Washington, Windy, French, Fawn and River Complex Fires to Enroll in State’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program


SACRAMENTO – Less than a week remains for owners of properties that sustained structural damage in the Hopkins, Washington, Windy, French, Fawn and River Complex fires to enroll in the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program.

January 15 is the deadline for owners of properties affected by those fires to sign-up for the program.

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, participating property owners incur no direct costs.

Despite the recent inclement weather in areas affected by this year’s fires, state debris officials report that crews continue to make progress in removing wildfire debris from participating properties.

To date, crews have removed more than 168,000 tons of burned metal, concrete, ash and contaminated soil from properties whose owners have enrolled in the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program after this year’s wildfires.

The 168,325 tons of eligible debris removed to date includes 104,845 tons of ash and debris; 33,016 tons of contaminated soil; 3,465 tons of burned metal; and 26,999 tons of burned concrete.

For the safety of crews on the ground, debris removal officials have placed a temporary pause on operations until the storms pass and it is safe to resume operations, including properly sorting, excavating and transporting debris via large haul trucks through rural communities.

So far, crews have completed the removal of eligible debris from 755 properties.  The 754 cleared properties represent 45 percent of the 1,664 properties participating in the full debris removal program.  Another 396 properties in those counties are participating in the hazardous trees only element of the program.

Property owners opted into the program by submitting a Right-of-Entry form (ROE) to their county, which allows the state to begin work on their property and incur no direct costs for the removal of burned metal, concrete, ash and contaminated soil from their properties.

Property owners with structural losses from the Hopkins Fire in Mendocino County, the Washington Fire in Tuolumne County, the Windy Fire in Tulare County, the French Fire in Kern County, the Fawn Fire in Shasta County and the River Complex Fire in Siskiyou County should speak with their county government to learn more about the program.  Information for each county is below:

California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program Stats

Location Full ROEs Hazard Tree Only ROEs Total Eligible Trees  
Alpine County 5 0 1,318
El Dorado County 599 161 12,512
Lake County 77 2 38
Lassen County 41 2 60
Mendocino County 17 0 0  
Nevada County 47 1 267
Placer County 43 0 1
Plumas County 647 224 10,952
Shasta 25 0 15  
Siskiyou County 61 1 0
Tehama 22 4 0  
Trinity County 66 1 310
Tulare County 3 0 0    
Tuolumne 11 0 0    
Statewide 1,664 396 25,473  


Property owners cannot start rebuilding until fire debris is removed from their properties and soil samples taken from the property meet state environmental health and safety standards.

Property owners also can do the work themselves through a licensed, private contractor, but the work must meet the same state standards as the State Program. If work is started by the property owner or contractor, they become ineligible for the State Program.

State debris removal officials remind property owners that only fire-generated debris such as burned metal, concrete, ash and contaminated soil is eligible for cleanup.   Unburned refrigerators or other appliances and any debris not generated by the wildfires are ineligible.

Debris officials also stress that participating owners must avoid disturbing the footprint of the destroyed structure and should not remove any debris themselves, other than small valuables.   Property owners recovering valuables should wear personal protective equipment and take appropriate precautions.  Any debris removal work done by property owners will result in their disqualification from the program.

Work Completed to Date:

 Location Site Assessments Complete Asbestos Assessments Complete Asbestos Abatements Complete Debris Removal Complete  
Alpine County 5 5 1 5
El Dorado County 570 550 136 354
Lake County 76 75 41 68
Lassen County 25 28 10 10
Mendocino County 17 17 0 0  
Nevada County 47 47 19 37
Placer County 43 43 10 41
Plumas County 561 572 281 219
Shasta County 11 21 0 0  
Siskiyou County 49 58 16 9
Tehama County 13 15 4 2  
Trinity County 46 55 8 10
Tulare County 0 0 0 0    
Tuolumne County 3 4 0 0    
Statewide 1,466 1,490 526 755  

Data as of 2 p.m., January 11, 2020

Steps Left to Complete 

Before homeowners can begin rebuilding, cleared properties need additional work including:

  • Separate contractors collect soil samples for verification at a laboratory that they meet state environmental health and safety standards.
  • Contractors next may install erosion control measures.
  • Certified arborists or professional foresters assess wildfire-damaged trees in danger of falling on the public or public infrastructure for removal by separate contractors.
  • Finally, state officials inspect the property to verify all completed work meets state standards. Debris officials submit a final inspection report to local officials to approve the property for reconstruction.

Property owners can track progress on the Debris Operations Dashboard for the 2021 statewide wildfires. The dashboard is updated every hour and provides users with the ability to search by county or address.

About the California Consolidated Debris Removal Program:

This Program has two phases:

  • In Phase I, local government, state and federal agencies have organized teams of experts and contractors to inspect the property and assess, make safe, and/or remove any household hazardous waste that may pose a threat to human health, animals, and the environment such as batteries, herbicides, pesticides, propane tanks, asbestos siding, and paints. Phase I is automatic and includes all residential properties that have been destroyed by the fires.
  • In Phase II, local, state and federal officials will coordinate to conduct fire-related debris removal from the property elected to participate in the State Program by signing a Right-of-Entry Form.