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FAQs for Household Hazardous Waste & Fire Debris Removal Cleanup
- General Questions About Cleanup
- Hazardous Waste Sweeps (Phase 1)
- State Debris Removal Option (Phase 2)
- Private Debris Removal Option (Phase 2)
- Standing Homes & HHW/ Debris Removal
- Damaged Hazardous Tree Removal
What are the stages of debris removal cleanup?
Debris removal is broken down into two phases:
Phase 1 is the removal of household hazardous waste (HHW) for materials that may pose a threat to human health, animals, and the environment such as batteries, asbestos siding, propane tanks, and paints. Phase 1 is mandatory for all properties that were included in the state damage assessment report and will be coordinated in conjunction with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA), and California Department of Toxic Substance Controls (Cal DTSC).
Phase 2 is the removal of the remaining structural ash and debris as well as soil testing to ensure the site is clean, safe for rebuilding, and free of potentially leached toxins. Phase 2 cleanup can only begin after the Phase 1 HHW Sweep is complete and the property owner has authorization to begin Phase 2 by either Sonoma County Environmental Health or the City of Santa Rosa (depending on jurisdiction). Some properties may be eligible to qualify for an exemption for Phase 2.
A state-sponsored Phase 2 debris removal program (the Consolidated Debris Removal Program) is available as an option for property owners of eligible damaged or destroyed residential structures -- review the Phase 2 Consolidated Debris Removal Program Eligibility Chart.
As an alternative option, property owners may also hire a properly licensed contractor and follow the private Phase 2 debris removal process which must be permitted by the City of Santa Rosa.
Who placed the signs on my destroyed/damaged property?
Do Not Disturb Ash: The County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa placed signs on each fire-damaged/destroyed property to caution property owners not to dig, dispose, or remove debris or ash from these properties. Hazardous debris after a wildfire can expose residents to toxic materials, and improper transport and disposal of fire debris can create dangerous health impacts throughout the community. Additionally, digging, piling materials up, or moving large pieces on or off the ash footprint could jeopardize government financial and debris removal assistance. Small scale sifting through ashes to locate remaining personal items will not impact your ability to get financial assistance but is not recommended for health reasons. The signs should be left in place on the property until proper authorization has been given by the County/City (depending on jurisdiction) for debris removal activities to begin.
Damage Status: Color-coded signs were installed to all structures/properties within the burn areas that were inspected by the County of Sonoma or City of Santa Rosa (depending on jurisdiction). The signs indicate the habitability of a structure. Yellow, red, or orange signs may only be removed by a City building official once work repairs have been completed. The structure habitability/safety evaluation status map may be viewed on the City structure safety map online: City of Santa Rosa property map
When can my destroyed vehicle be removed?
If a property owner or their insurance company must remove a burned vehicle from their property, they can do so after the Household Hazardous Waste Sweep (Phase 1) has been completed on their property. There may be an opportunity for property/vehicle owners to remove undamaged vehicles from the property. However, great care must be exercised in order to avoid any disturbance to the ash footprint. For example, removal of a fire damaged vehicle from a fire damaged/destroyed garage or carport is not recommended as this would likely spread contaminants and could result in disqualification from the Phase 2 government-sponsored program. This includes all burned vehicles. Extreme caution should be taken to not disturb the ash footprint. Vehicles must be disposed of in accordance with state and local requirements (e.g. county abatement process and at an appropriate landfill). The state-sponsored Phase 2 debris removal program will include vehicle removal.
What are property owner responsibilities for protecting ash and debris runoff?
As property owners begin the process of clean-up and rebuilding following the fires, it is the responsibility of the property owner to control storm runoff. Property owners and contractors on burned lots and rebuild sites must prevent pollutants, including sediment, from entering storm drains, creeks, rivers, and wetlands.
Wattles and other Best Management Practices (BMPs) materials, such as straw, are available for purchase at various agriculture, garden supply, and hardware stores. BMPs are used to keep pollutants from entering storm drains and our natural water bodies like creeks and rivers.
View more Rain Ready Information & Resources
PHASE 1 HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE (HHW) SWEEPS
Read additional FAQs from Cal OES and Cal Recycle related to Phase 1
Will all hazardous waste be removed?
The State’s contractor will conduct a rapid sweep, not a comprehensive clean-up. Detected hazardous waste will be removed, but some hazardous waste may be missed or may otherwise require subsequent clean-up actions during the Phase 2 debris removal process by someone certified to handle household hazardous waste.
Although the state’s contractor will be conducting the initial sweep, any property owners who use private contractors to complete the Phase 2 structural debris removal will be required to have a Certified Asbestos Consultant clear their property for asbestos before work can commence.
Will fire debris be removed as part of the Phase 1 Household Hazardous Waste Sweep?
No. Removal of materials during the Household Hazardous Waste Sweep will be limited. Fire debris removal for the purpose of clean-up and rebuild is a separate process outlined in the Phase 2 information.
How much will Phase 1 cost?
There is no cost to property owners for the Phase 1 Household Hazardous Waste Sweep.
What if I want to opt out of the Phase 1 Household Hazardous Waste Sweep and hire someone to remove my own Household Hazardous Waste?
Per the County of Sonoma urgency ordinance, Phase 1 is mandatory for all properties that were identified in the State’s damage assessment report for the Glass Fire. Check map to determine if your property will require a Phase 1 HHW sweep
Will we need to be there, or can we be there, during the Phase 1 process?
Owners are not required to be present for the Phase 1 Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Sweep. The safety of the general public and workers is a priority. To prevent safety hazards, the public is encouraged to stay away from areas where HHW Sweep operations are underway. Exclusion zones will be established surrounding the current work area to ensure safety of the public.
How will I know that the Phase 1 Household Hazardous Waste Sweep process has started and completed?
Once all parcel information is collected, the State’s completion will be tracked on an interactive map in which property owners can check on the status of their parcel.
Can I be sued by the State or their contractor that is removing Household Hazardous Waste from my property?
No. The State’s Household Hazardous Waste contractors will be licensed and insured, and their insurance will cover any injuries to their employees or damage to equipment that occurs during the Household Hazardous Waste removal process.
Why is the State conducting an emergency sweep of all burned properties to remove Household Hazardous Waste?
On September 29, 2020, the Sonoma County Health Officer, Dr. Sundari R. Mase, proclaimed a health emergency due to the hazardous waste on burned properties. Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) includes leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic. Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, ammunition, propane, and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal. Some impacted properties may also have asbestos, which requires special handling. The State’s contractor will implement an emergency sweep of burned properties to remove hazardous waste that threatens the community and the environment. HHW removal will be at no cost to impacted property owners.
HHW must be removed without delay to protect public health and safety. Additionally, hazardous waste could have significant long-term health and environmental impacts and cannot be combined with the waste from the general fire debris clean-up that will be going to landfills. Removal of hazardous waste from the fire debris prevents these environmental contaminants from polluting the environment, and protects workers, and the community from exposure. The crews that conduct removal are specifically certified to handle HHW and will be wearing personal protective equipment.
State Consolidated Debris Removal Program (Phase 2)
The following FAQs were provided from Cal OES and Cal Recycle
What is Phase 2 of the Consolidated Debris Removal Program?
The Consolidated Debris Removal Program has two phases: removal of household hazardous waste and removal of other fire-related debris including hazard trees.
In Phase II, Cal OES, FEMA, and local officials will coordinate with the State’s Debris Task Force to conduct fire-related debris removal from your property if you have elected to participate in the State’s program by signing a Right-of-Entry Form.
(The ROE form and all required accompanying documents must be coordinated and submitted through the County of Sonoma Department of Health Services, Environmental Health. To access the ROE form, learn more about how to submit the form, or to schedule an appointment with County Environmental Health staff to get assistance with completing the form, please visit the County of Sonoma website.)
What do I need to do to enroll in the State's Phase 2 program?
Contact local government officials to get a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form. You will fill out the form to grant government contractors access to your property to conduct the debris removal. Check your local government’s website for information on how to obtain the form or visit wildfirerecovery.org.
What is a ROE form?
A Right-of-Entry (ROE) form gives permission to the city/county and state to access your property for the purpose of cleanup activities. By signing an ROE form, you are signing up to participate in the program. The form extends permission to CalRecycle and its contactors to perform the cleanup work. Contact city/county officials to get a Right-of-Entry form.
After I turn in a ROE to my local government, what happens next?
First, your local government will review your ROE and ensure it has been filled out correctly. It will also cross check property records to verify that you are the property owner. Afterwards, the ROE will be transferred to the State’s debris task force for processing and scheduling.
If I missed the ROE deadline may I still submit a form?
ROEs submitted after the deadline must be reviewed on a case–by-case basis by the city/county.
Is the debris removal program only for houses that are completely destroyed?
This debris removal program is for fire-damaged or destroyed houses. Homes that have mostly burned, but may have walls still standing, may be eligible for the State’s debris removal program on a case by case basis. When you submit your Right-of-Entry permit, notify the representative that your structure is not completely destroyed, so your property may be reviewed as quickly as possible. You should also include with your Right-of-Entry permit, a “total loss” letter from your insurance company, if insured.
When will my debris be cleared?
Crews have already begun removal of hazardous household waste across the State. Removal of fire debris, other than hazardous household waste, is scheduled to begin in December of 2020.
There are a number of factors that determine when your lot will be scheduled for debris removal. The local government sets priorities within the community, such as properties that are near public use facilities and areas with sensitive receptors, such as schools, parks, and nursing homes. Secondly, they prioritize areas that are a threat to the environment, such as near creeks and other bodies of water. To maximize efficiency, the State will schedule the properties as best they can in groups to maximize efficiency and overall productivity to restore the communities as quickly as possible.
What is soil testing? Why is this being performed, and how? Who tests the soil?
Crews scrape 3 – 6” of soil from the ash footprint and samples are sent to a state-approved lab for analysis. The results are compared against background samples taken from areas in the vicinity that are not directly impacted by fire to ensure that all contaminated ash was removed. If necessary, more soil is removed and the site is retested until it comes back clear of contaminants or it is determined the contents of the soil are consistent with the background levels of similar soil on a property. All soil testing results are returned to the State’s Debris Task Force for final review and validation.
After debris clearance and soil testing, what are the next steps?
Once the State’s Debris Task Force has ensured that contractors have removed all debris and soil testing meets California state standards, contractors will return to install erosion control methods. The State’s Debris Task Force will then report to your local government that your lot is clear. Your local government will then notify you that your property is safe and ready for rebuilding.
Once the household hazardous waste is removed by the State or federal contractor, can property owners hire their own contractors to remove the remaining debris?
Yes. If you decide to remove fire-related debris from your property, you must obtain all the necessary permits and environmental clearances from the City of Santa Rosa before your contractors start any work. Download a Glass Fire Private Debris Removal Application
I own a private-non-profit or a commercial property and it was damaged in the fire, is my property eligible?
These properties may be approved by the State on a case by case basis. The State will consider the commercial property owners ability to cause the work to be performed and whether the debris on the property presents an immediate threat to the health and safety of the community.
Health and Safety
My house was destroyed in the fire. Can I go back onto my property to see if I can find any valuables or mementos?
Safe sifting through your property will NOT jeopardize your claims for disaster assistance. Property owners who desire to search debris for possible salvageable items should do so with caution and with proper protective gear: eye protection, masks, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants. Residents should minimize contact with fire debris, which may contain materials that can be hazardous to your health. For more information, visit the state public health websites:
Can I be present during the cleanup of my personal property?
Owners do not need to be present but are welcome to view the cleanup on their property from a safe distance. To prevent safety hazards, the public is encouraged to stay away from areas where debris removal operations are underway. Exclusion zones will be established surrounding the work area to ensure the safety of the public and workers.
How is the State’s Debris Task Force protecting our rivers, streams, and aquifers from contamination?
The State’s Debris Task Force will use erosion controls on the site as well as use silt collection devices around storm drains to minimize impacts to rivers, streams, and the aquifers. They are also taking measures such as wrapping the debris in trucks to minimize particles traveling from the air to the water.
Who ensures compliance with worker safety regulations?
The State’s safety professionals and contractor safety professionals ensure work complies with all OSHA, Cal/OSHA standards.
What safety and environmental regulations are contractors required to comply with?
Contractors are required to comply with all local, state, and federal laws and regulations regarding safety and the environment. Whenever there is a conflict between codes or regulations, the most stringent regulation is applied.
How are properties prioritized for debris removal?
A: Debris removal officials will give initial priority to sites in or near sensitive areas such as watersheds, schools, day care centers and health-care facilities. Debris removal officials will then try to identify areas where there are clusters of eligible properties.
When will crews be on my property?
Due to the high volume of program participants, we are unable to give property owners an exact date for their cleanup. However, you will receive a call from between 24-48 hours before the removal takes place.
Payment and Insurance
Who will pay for the debris removal?
All upfront costs will be paid by state and federal agencies. However, if property owners have homeowner’s insurance covering debris removal, owners must inform local officials by indicating that coverage on their ROE. Homeowners will be required to remit that portion of their insurance proceeds specifically reserved for debris (see additional clarification below).
If I have homeowner’s insurance, can I still participate in the debris removal program?
Yes. However, to avoid a duplication of benefits provided by the state or federal government, your insurance company will be required to provide payment from your policy designated for debris removal to the government. (See additional clarification below)
What portion of my homeowner’s policy will the city/county collect for debris removal?
It depends on the policy that you have. There are generally two types of debris removal coverages in a homeowner’s insurance policy:
- Specified Amount: One type of debris removal insurance coverage contains a separate, specific debris clause, typically capped at a percentage of the coverage amounts listed in the policy (for example, 5 percent of the value of a primary structure, other structure, and personal property.) In this case, the city/county will only collect from your insurance policy the specified amount designated in the debris removal clause. You will not owe the county any additional money, even if the actual costs to remove the debris exceed the amount designated in your insurance policy for debris removal.
- No Specified Amount: Another type of debris removal insurance policy does not have a specified amount but includes the costs of debris removal in the total proceeds provided for the primary structure, other structure, or personal property. If you have this type of policy, the city/county will only attempt to collect insurance proceeds for debris removal after you have rebuilt your home. The county will only collect any money that remains in your insurance policy, if any, after the rebuild. The homeowner will not owe the county any additional money for debris removal.
Note: Property owners may be able to first utilize debris removal insurance claim payments for debris removal work that is outside the scope of the state-managed program, such as the removal of pools and driveways, and trees/fencing/outbuildings outside the ash footprint. Contact your insurance provider for specifics on your policy.
If I participate in the Consolidated Debris Removal Program, will the city/county have the right to take all of my insurance proceeds?
No. The city/county will only seek reimbursement from the insurance carrier as stated above.
If I opt in to the state/government program, can I change my mind and opt out at a later time? If I opt in to the state/government program and later opt out, will I owe the state/county any money?
If a property owner opts out after the debris removal has started, the property owner will be responsible for reimbursing any available insurance proceeds, related to debris removal, collected to offset any debris expenditures from the State.
Can I use my debris removal insurance policy to remove items that are ineligible for removal under the Consolidated Debris Removal program?
Yes. If you have a specified amount for debris removal in your insurance policy, you may use your insurance proceeds to remove fire-related debris that is ineligible for removal under the program (e.g., swimming pools, patios, trees, etc.). The local government will only collect remaining insurance proceeds, if any, after you have removed ineligible fire-related debris.
If your homeowner’s insurance policy does not have a separate, debris-specific clause and instead includes the costs of debris removal in the total coverage, you may use these proceeds to pay for the removal of fire-related debris that is ineligible for removal under the program. The local government will only collect remaining insurance proceeds, if any, after you have removed ineligible fire-related debris.
In either scenario, the property owner will be required to substantiate all expenditures.
Will the State’s Debris Task Force use local contractors in this effort?
The State’s Debris Task Force will choose a prime contractor who will hire subcontractors. The State’s Debris Task Force will make every effort to encourage the prime contractor to use local subcontractors.
If you have any questions regarding the Consolidated Debris Removal Program, send them to [email protected] or visit our website at wildfirerecovery.org.
Will the State’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program remove trees from my property?
Yes, the debris removal contractor will remove trees that are a threat to the safety of the debris removal crews while working on your property and trees that are dead or likely to die within five years as a result of the fire, as determined by a certified arborist, that present a threat to public health and safety on the public Right of Way (ROW), i.e. roadways, and/or public infrastructure, fire hydrants, water meters, etc.
Will debris removal crews be looking for code violations or other property infractions?
No. Debris removal crews are on properties to perform specific operations related to the removal of contaminated soil, ash/debris, concrete, and metals.
I don’t have any burned structures on my property, but I have burned trees, am I eligible for the State’s Debris Removal Program?
Yes. Whether or not you have a burned structure, if you believe you have trees on your property that are dead or likely to die within five years as a result of the fire, you should submit a Right of Entry Form to your county. The State will use a certified arborist to determine whether the trees on your property present a threat to the public Right of Way (ROW), i.e. roadways, and/or public infrastructure, fire hydrants, water meters, etc.
Are swimming pools eligible for the State Phase 2 Program?
Pools are ineligible, however Hazardous floating debris will be removed by the crews.
Can I do my own work or hire my own contractor?
Yes. Property owners who wish to conduct their own cleanup or hire private contractors to remove wildfire debris may do so, but they should be aware of local safety and environmental standards and requirements. The city/county will require the same work practices, proper cleanup to comparable standards, and safe disposal requirements as the state-managed operations. Available state funding will only pay for work done through the state-run program. Contact your local government for more information on private cleanups.
PHASE 2 Debris Removal
Additional FAQs from Cal OES and Cal Recycle related to Phase 2
Can I begin removing my structural Phase 2 debris before Household Hazardous Waste Removal (Phase 1) is complete?
No. On September 29, 2020 the Sonoma County Health Officer, Dr. Sundari R. Mase issued an order advising community members to not enter the burn footprint of structures and to not begin clean-up activities until authorized by the Department of Health Services, Environmental Health. Hazardous debris after a wildfire can expose residents to toxic materials, and improper transport and disposal of fire debris can create dangerous health impacts throughout the community. Additionally, digging, piling materials up, or moving large pieces of debris on or off the ash footprint could jeopardize financial and debris removal assistance if done without proper authority or approvals.
Where can I get a list of qualified contractors to hire for Phase 2 Debris Removal?
If a property owner does not want to participate in the government-sponsored Consolidated Debris Removal Program being managed by the State, a property owner can contract with a private contractor to perform the debris removal and conduct the soil sampling. The contractor and property owner must apply for and obtain approval for a private debris removal permit from the City, prior to initiating Phase 2 work.
Property owners can contact the California State Licensing Board to check if a contractor is licensed and insured. Their telephone number is (800) 321-2752.
The Northern Engineering Contractors Association can provide you a list of contractors that can assist in developing your debris removal plan, including soil assessment and testing. Their telephone number is (707) 546-5500.
North Coast Builders Exchange also has a list of contractors that can assist in debris removal plans. Their telephone number is (707) 542-2027.
Will soil testing be required for Phase 2, and how should I conduct soil testing?
Yes, soil sampling will be required as part of Phase 2 and prior to your property being ready to rebuild. Because soils in Sonoma County have naturally occurring levels of arsenic and other chemicals, it is important to identify what elements were previously existing on your soil before the fire, such that the property can be brought back to native conditions. Guidelines, requirements and procedures to perform this work are included within the City of Santa Rosa's document “Management of Glass Wildfire Debris” which is found within the Santa Rosa Glass Fire Debris Removal Application packet Generally, this work consists of collecting baseline and confirmation samples under the responsible charge of a licensed geologist or engineer and having the soil analyzed at an analytical laboratory.
What if I have a Septic System and/or Water Well?
After the Household Hazardous Sweeps (Phase 1) have been conducted, and before debris clean up starts (Phase 2), property owners or the property contractor should clearly and visibly mark the location of their septic systems or water well systems associated with their property including the following:
- Septic tanks
- Pump tanks
- Pretreatment units
- Electrical components
- Distribution boxes (if location is known)
- Both the existing primary leach field area and (if known) the expansion leach field areas.
- Any transmission lines from the septic tanks, pump tanks, pretreatment units to the leach field.
- The location of any water wells.
- The location of any water well lines from the water well to the buildings.
This process is a critical measure to help preserve the property’s septic system and to avoid costly replacements or repairs. Even the removal of small amounts of soil from leach fields can result in the area no longer being a feasible leach field. It is imperative that areas be marked, and the location information be shared with the debris removal contractor. Heavy equipment operated by debris removal contractors could damage unmarked well and septic infrastructure.
If property owners do not know the location of their system, contact the City of Santa Rosa permit center at 707-543-4649 for assistance with locating property records. If there are no records available, customers can be provided with a list of certified contractors in the area who can identify the location of the properties septic system.
STANDING HOMES AND HHW/ DEBRIS REMOVAL
If my house is undamaged, but in a burned neighborhood, can I live in my house during the Phase 1 Household Hazardous Waste Sweep?
Generally, yes. For Phase 1, exclusion zones will be set up as a safety precaution, but it is not anticipated that they will impact standing residences.
My home did not burn, but fencing and/or small outbuildings (shed, chicken coop., etc.) on my property did. Does my property qualify for an exemption from the Phase 1 and Phase 2 debris removal requirements?
All properties identified in the State’s damage assessment report WILL BE included in Phase 1 Household Hazardous Sweeps. View map to see if your property is included.
A property may be approved for an exemption from Phase 2 debris removal if the only burned debris on the property is from:
- A fence
- Non-structural wood material
- Non-residential structure(s) that combined total less than 120 square feet
- Approval is received from Sonoma County Environmental Health or the City of Santa Rosa (jurisdiction specific)
A property falling within the above listed circumstances may apply to the Sonoma County Environmental Health or the City of Santa Rosa to receive an exemption from the Phase 2 debris removal process and follow the exemption requirements.
Additional exemptions may be granted on a case by case basis where the structure is greater than 120 square feet and all material contained within the structure is inert.
For residents of the unincorporated County area, call Sonoma County Environmental Health if you have questions about an exemption at 707-565-6700 and press “2” when prompted to make a selection OR email at [email protected].
For residents of the City of Santa Rosa, call 707-543-4649 or email [email protected].
My property fits the criteria for an exemption from the Phase 2 Debris Removal process, how do I request the exemption and what do I do to clean up the burned material?
A property owner must seek conditional exemption approval from Sonoma County Environmental Health Services or the City of Santa Rosa (depending on jurisdiction) before any cleanup work on the site can begin. The property owner must also follow ALL requirements and cleanup protocols listed in the “Conditional Exemption.”
Sonoma County Environmental Health Conditional Exemption. Call Sonoma County Environmental Health if you have questions about requesting an exemption at 707-565-6700 and press “2” when prompted to make a selection OR email at [email protected].
For residents of the City of Santa Rosa, call 707-543-4649 or email [email protected].
What should I do if my property was not damaged by the fire, but is located near structures that burned?
If your property is near a burned structure but was not damaged, please call your insurance company to follow up on what if any assessment you may need to take. You may also wish to consult a certified industrial hygienist (CIH) to ensure your property is safe. To find a local certified industrial hygienist, please contact the American Board of Industrial Hygiene and select the “Find a CIH near you” button.
For residents of the City of Santa Rosa, you may follow the City’s guidance document – Steps for Assessing and Repairing Your Standing Home.
Fire debris from the neighboring destroyed/damaged property landed on my property during the fires. My home is standing and occupiable, but should I still get soil samples done to identify potential contaminants? If contaminants are found, what do I do to remove them and is it safe to occupy my home during the removal process?
Residents are encouraged to contact their insurance carrier. Your insurance may be able to contact your neighbor’s carrier and coordinate needs.
DAMAGED HAZARDOUS TREE REMOVAL
What is being done to address hazardous burned trees in the fire-impacted areas?
City/County Hazardous Tree Removal in Public Right of Way in Fire-Impacted Areas
The City of Santa Rosa and County of Sonoma crews and/or their contractors are assessing fire-damaged trees within the public right-of-way to evaluate their level of damage and risk to public safety and the right of way. Burned trees that present an “imminent” risk to public safety and roadways are being removed now. Right-of-way trees categorized as presenting a “moderate” risk will be left at this time. Each agency is assessing/ removing the right-of-way trees located within their respective jurisdictions.
The City of Santa Rosa has also removed fire-damaged trees from Open Space areas in the city limit burn areas.
PG&E Hazardous Tree Removal in Fire-Impacted Areas
Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) contract crews are conducting inspections to identify and address hazardous trees along power lines that may have been damaged by the fire, this includes work that may impact residents/ private property.
Per PG&E, customers can expect the following:
- Hazardous trees are being marked to identify them for work. A tree marked P1 (Priority 1) is fire damaged and highly likely to pose a threat to PG&E facilities and will be removed as quickly as possible. A tree marked P2 (Priority 2) is fire damaged but not highly likely to pose an imminent threat to PG&E facilities but do require eventual removal to mitigate the threat. PG&E has indicated P2 tree removal will be completed by April 2021.
- PG&E will reach out to notify property owners who may be impacted by this work.
- Wood from felled trees/pruning cannot be removed by PG&E since trees are considered assets and property that legally belong to the property owner. However, at the property owner’s request, PG&E will chip smaller limbs (4 inched in diameter or less) and can spread the chips on site.
- In some areas, tree crews will lop and scatter wood debris in accordance with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Forest Practice Rules to avoid excessive vegetation build-up.
Customers with questions or concerns about this work should contact PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 or visit PGE.com/Trees.
Hazardous Tree Removal on Private Property
Whether or not you have a burned structure, if you believe you have trees on your property that are dead or likely to die within five years as a result of the fire, you may still submit a Right of Entry (ROE) form to the County of Sonoma to opt in to the government-sponsored Consolidated Debris Removal Program (managed by the State) for potential removal. The State will use a certified arborist to determine whether the trees on your property present a threat to the public Right of Way (ROW), i.e. roadways, and/or public infrastructure, fire hydrants, water meters, etc.
If you do not wish to opt in to the State debris removal program, you must follow the City’s guidance for private property tree removal for trees damaged or suspected to be damaged by the Glass Fire.