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.

Saturday, 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 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 it's 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 396properties in those counties are participating in the hazardous trees removal program.

Property owners opt into the program by submitting a Right-of-Entry form to their county, which allows the state to begin work on their property.

For those affected by the Windy Fire, information is available at  https://tularecounty.ca.gov/emergencies/

Property owners can't 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.

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 caused by the wildfires aren't eligible.

Participating owners must avoid disturbing the footprint of the destroyed structure and shouldn't remove any debris themselves, other than small valuables.

Property owners can track progress on the Debris Operations Dashboard for the 2021 statewide wildfires at the following link: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/cb5c2cc0080f43b98a9c0b55cb63cd19. The dashboard is updated every hour and provides users with the ability to search by county or address. 

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