The state, federal and local community partners conducting the Consolidated Debris Removal Program have reached a major milestone with the removal of more than 1 million tons of fire-related debris from properties affected by the October 2017 Northern California Wildfires in Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties, officials said.
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), they said.
Debris removal in Lake County is 100 percent complete, with USACE contractors having removed more than 22,655 tons of debris from the 155 program-approved parcels, they said.
"One hundred percent debris removal for Lake County is a huge milestone," USACE Recovery Field Office Commander Col. Eric McFadden said. "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 Santa Rosa's severely damaged Coffey Park neighborhood. Some 1,200 properties were cleared of debris there as part of the program, but like other areas, there is more work to do on some lots before the county will be notified that the parcel is cleared, officials said.
"We have made significant progress on debris removal since the devastating wildfires back in October," Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci said. "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.
As of Feb. 2, contractors have cleared 63 percent of all approved parcels across the four counties, with 3,087 parcels cleared of debris, officials said.
The Consolidated Debris Removal mission is a two-phase process, they said.
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," FEMA Regional Administrator Bob Fenton said.
More information will be made available on OESNews.com and from Cal OES's Twitter and Facebook.