Wildfire Debris Cleared From Nearly 90% of Eligible Properties in LA County

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Contractors have cleared debris generated by last year's Bobcat and Lake wildfires from nearly 90% of the properties in Los Angeles County participating in the state's Consolidated Debris Removal Program, it was announced today.

Under the state program, administered by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery and the state Office of Emergency Services in conjunction with participating counties, property owners incur no direct costs for participation. To date, crews have cleared 69, or 87.3%, of the 79 eligible properties in Los Angeles County of burned metal, concrete, ash and debris.

Statewide, contractors have finished removing debris from 2,295, or 61.2%, of 3,753 participating parcels. Although removal of debris from the properties moves property owners one step closer to rebuilding, officials stress that the process is not over and that state contractors must complete additional work before reconstruction can begin.

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

If the soil samples meet state environmental and safety criteria, contractors then install fiber rolls and apply a virgin-based, biodegradable mulch to every cleared property whose owners have opted to have contractors implement the two types of erosion control measures.

Following those erosion control measures, state officials and staff conduct a walk-thru of the property to ensure that all work done by state crews meets the state's standards, then a final inspection report is submitted 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.

To date in Los Angeles County, contractors also have completed site assessments on all 79 participating properties and asbestos assessments on all but one of those properties. They also have removed bulk quantities of asbestos containing materials from 47 properties, according to Cal OES.

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.

The Lake Fire, which broke out Aug. 12 near Lake Hughes, burned 31,089 acres and destroyed or damaged more than 15 homes and 21 buildings before being 100% contained more than a month later.

The Bobcat Fire erupted in the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 6, blackening about 116,000 acres, destroying 171 structures, including 87 residences and the Nature Center at the Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area, and threatened the Mt. Wilson Observatory. It damaged another 47 structures, including 28 residences, and took weeks to fully contain.

Photo: Getty Images

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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