Wildfire Hazardous Waste Cleanup Takes Major Steps Forward


SACRAMENTO – In an effort to rebuild after the 2021 wildfire season, emergency workers from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) are quickly cleaning up contaminated debris from four more fires across the state this year.

At the direction of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), DTSC HazMat crews are moving into Trinity, Siskiyou, and Tulare counties to assess 46 properties and remove household hazardous waste (HHW) and bulk asbestos left behind by the River Complex and Windy fires. Crews have assessed 66 properties in Kern and Mendocino counties to remove contaminated debris from the French and Hopkins fires.

“These intense, climate change driven fires are affecting more Californians each year and put our environment at risk when wildfire debris becomes hazardous,” said Dr. Meredith Williams, Director of DTSC. “We work in concert with other state agencies to move in quickly when directed, remove these environmental threats, and help our wildfire survivors begin to rebuild their lives.”

The state’s removal of HHW and bulk asbestos from burned properties is the first step of the State Consolidated Debris Removal Program, which helps Californians displaced by wildfires get on the road to recovery.

To date, DTSC has assessed more than 2,355 parcels burned in 16 of this year’s wildfires, as illustrated on the department’s real-time public dashboard.

More information on resources available to California’s wildfire survivors may be found on the Cal OES website.