Major Milestone: 70% of Debris Removed from Statewide Properties Affected by 2020 Wildfires

SACRAMENTO — In another important milestone in helping Californians rebuild and recover, the state announced today that it has cleared eligible debris from more than 70 percent of eligible properties throughout California affected by last year’s wildfires.

Through the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program, administered by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) in conjunction with participating counties, property owners incur no direct costs for participation.

To date, crews have cleared 2,632, or 70.3 percent, of the 3,742 participating properties around the state of burned metal, concrete, ash and debris.

Although removal of debris from the properties moves owners of the cleared properties one step closer to rebuilding, debris officials remind owners that the process is not over and that state contractors must complete additional work before they can begin reconstruction.

Once a state crew has cleared a property of eligible debris, an environmental contractor will return to the site and collect soil samples for testing at an approved laboratory to verify that the samples taken from an owner’s property meet state environmental health and safety criteria.

If laboratory tests confirm that soil samples meet state environmental health and safety criteria, state contractors will install fiber rolls and apply a virgin-based, biodegradable mulch or take similar measures to protect the site from erosion.

Following these erosion control measures, state officials and staff conduct a walkthrough of the property to ensure that all work done by state crews meets the state’s standard.  If work meets the state standards, debris officials submit a final inspection report to local officials, clearing the way for the property owner to begin reconstruction.

State officials coordinating the removal of debris caused by last year’s wildfires are reminding property owners participating in the state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program that performing any debris removal work themselves once state contractors have begun will result in their disqualification from the state program.

In addition to the properties cleared of debris, teams have completed the following work*:

  • 3,626 site assessments;
  • 3,611 asbestos assessments;
  • 1,462 asbestos abatements; and
  • 753 erosion control work.

To date, state debris officials have returned 480 properties to county officials as completed and ready to begin reconstruction.

Participating property owners who are unsure where they are in the debris removal process to check the Debris Operations Dashboard for the 2020 statewide wildfires. The dashboard is updated every hour and provides users with the ability to sort by branch or county via the filters at the top of the page.  Users can also search by address via the magnifying glass icon at the top of the map to learn of the debris removal status of their property.

*Data as of 1 p.m. 4/23/21