State and local officials announced on Friday, October 1, 2021, the completion of major wildfire debris removal operations on 243 parcels in Sonoma County associated with the 2020 LNU Lightning Complex and Glass fires. The final parcels cleared were part of the state's Consolidated Debris Removal Program.
Between the LNU Lightning Complex and the Glass fires, 496 properties required debris removal, with about half of those enrolling in the private program, which is ongoing and approximately 85 percent complete.
In 2020, more than 8,000 climate-induced wildfires burned 4.2 million acres of California, destroying in excess of 5,700 homes. The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) implemented the statewide Consolidated Debris Removal Program to assist wildfire survivor property owners with the burdensome costs of cleanup.
The work to remove the debris in Sonoma County has been complicated by steep terrain and access issues, but Chair of the Board of Supervisors Lynda Hopkins said accomplishing this mission has been essential to the recovery of the community.
“With these lots cleared, those affected by the fires can now work to rebuild even as we, as a County, redouble our efforts on wildfire prevention and climate adaptation,” Chair Hopkins said. “We are grateful to our state and federal partners for their aid during times of crisis.”
The debris removal program was a two-phase process. Phase I was the removal of household hazardous waste by the California Department of Toxic Substance Control. Phase II was the removal of other fire-related debris from structures destroyed by the fire.
The debris removal was managed by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).
“After the devastation of a catastrophic wildfire, survivors need hazardous materials and other debris cleared from their properties to move forward and begin to rebuild their lives,” CalRecycle Director Rachel Machi Wagoner said. “CalRecycle’s experienced team worked as quickly as possible with state and local partners to return clean, safe properties so that communities can be rebuilt and restored.”
Cal OES oversaw the project in Sonoma County as one of 25 counties impacted by destructive wildfires in 2020.
“Removing all the debris from the fires that happened one year ago and ensuring properties were safe again is a major accomplishment,” said Ryan Buras, Deputy Director of Recovery at Cal OES. “We appreciate the partnership with county and city leaders to help property owners get back on the road to recovery.”
The County of Sonoma anticipates getting cost notices for each parcel from the state in the next two to three months. County staff will then generate invoices to submit to property owners and their insurance carriers, including to applicable property owners within the City of Santa Rosa. Property owners are reminded to set aside any debris removal insurance proceeds they receive prior to receiving an invoice. Property owners with questions on debris insurance can contact the county at (707) 565-1222 or [email protected] Debris removal insurance collection information may also be found at socoemergency.org/recover/debris-insurance-collection/.