© 2023 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
KSOR Header background image 1
a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Debris removal from 2020 fires finally complete in California


Debris from the 2020 California wildfires has been cleared from 100% of the properties involved in a California wildfire debris removal program.

The program is meant to help wildfire survivors clean up their properties with no out-of-pocket costs.

Although some properties in the program are still waiting on soil testing, hazardous tree removal or erosion control, over 3,000 families have begun rebuilding their homes or can now begin.

Officially named the California Consolidated Debris Removal Program, it is run out of the California Office of Emergency Services (OES) and the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle).

Alicia De La Garza, with the California OES, says the debris removal program is crucial because of the sheer level of damage that wildfires cause.

“Our crews cleared, it was about 1.25 million tons, which is about 2.5 billion pounds of debris” says De La Garza. “So that’s ash, metal, concrete, contaminated soil, all that kind of stuff was removed from those properties.”

De La Garza says that the Office of Emergency Service is not just focused on debris removal after the fact.

“We definitely work on mitigation, so we encourage homeowners to have defensive space around their homes, which will really help prevent the fire from even reaching their homes. And having home hardening programs that we put out in the public so people can learn how to use fire safe products whether its items that are used to actually build the home or just stuff that is around the home.”

Sophia Prince is a reporter and producer for JPR News. She began as JPR’s 2021 summer intern through the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in journalism and international studies.