The state, federal and local community partners conducting the Consolidated Debris Removal Program have reached a major milestone with the removal of more than one million tons of fire-related debris from properties affected by the October 2017 Northern California Wildfires in Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is managing debris removal operations under the direction of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).
Currently, Lake County is 100 percent complete with debris removal. In Lake County, USACE contractors have removed more than 22,655 tons of debris from the 155 approved parcels in the program.
“One hundred percent debris removal for Lake County is a huge milestone,” said Col. Eric McFadden, Commander of the USACE Recovery Field Office. “Some work continues on the remainder of those properties – soil sampling and the review of those results; re-scrapes and retesting, if needed; and installation of erosion control measures and other punch list items.”
Another notable milestone is the completion of debris removal in the severely damaged Coffey Park neighborhood in Santa Rosa. Some 1,200 properties were cleared of debris there as part of the program, but like other areas, there is additional work to do on some lots in Coffey Park before the county will be notified that the parcel is cleared.
“We have made significant progress on debris removal since the devastating wildfires back in October,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “While this achievement is a major milestone, there is still a lot of work to be done. We will be here to ensure the project is complete and continue assisting with the overall community recovery in these counties.”
With major debris removal operations wrapping up in Coffey Park, crews will mobilize to other focus areas to make further progress.
As of Feb. 2, contractors had cleared 63 percent of all approved parcels across the four counties, with 3,087 parcels cleared of debris.
The Consolidated Debris Removal mission is a two-phase process – Phase I is the removal of household hazardous waste by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Sonoma and Napa counties and by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control in Lake and Mendocino counties. Phase II is the removal of other fire-related debris from structures destroyed or damaged by the fire including concrete foundations.
“The achievement of these debris removal milestones reflects the ongoing collective efforts to rebuild and recover from the October fires,” said FEMA Regional Administrator Bob Fenton.
Cal OES is responsible for the coordination of overall state agency response to major disasters in support of local government. The agency is responsible for assuring the state’s readiness to respond to and recover from all hazards and for assisting local governments in their emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and hazard mitigation efforts. Visit them online at www.caloes.ca.gov or @Cal_OES on Twitter and get the latest news at OESNews.comESNews.com.