California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Disaster Preparedness and Response

CalRecycle Wildfire Recovery

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2017 Wildfires. In the aftermath of the 2017 wildfires, CalRecycle will be managing debris cleanup in Butte, Nevada, and Yuba counties, and will assist federal agencies’ cleanup efforts in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and Lake counties. Please bookmark this webpage for future updates on cleanup information and progress.

Every year, California faces the threat of devastating wildfires that have the potential to claim lives, destroy property, and harm the environment. In October 2017, California experienced a rash of fast-moving fires that caused unprecedented damage to communities in Northern California.

State and federal partners developed the Consolidated Debris Removal Program to assist affected jurisdictions with the removal of fire debris from single-family homes and yards in addition to public facilities.

The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) has tasked CalRecycle to conduct wildfire debris removal operations in Butte, Nevada, and Yuba counties. Debris removal in the other counties impacted by wildfire – Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino – is being addressed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

CalRecycle has established a debris removal operations center to coordinate recovery efforts and provide a base of operations for field crews and homeowners in need of assistance.

Debris Removal Operations Center for Butte, Nevada, and Yuba counties
4451 Highway 20
Marysville, CA 95901
(916) 769-1139

In order to have debris removed from your property, residents and municipalities must submit a Right of Entry form. Forms are available at the following links:

CalRecycle has been involved in past cleanup efforts for several large wildfires and has prepared the resources and guidance below to help local governments with wildfire debris management and disposal, household hazardous waste collection and storage, and ash cleanup and disposal.

Resources for Homeowners

Resources for Local Jurisdictions

Depending on the circumstances and extent of damage caused by a wildfire, local government jurisdictions develop a coordinated approach to fire debris cleanup. This could involve:

  • Establishment of standards for cleanup (based on public health and safety findings from prior fires).
  • Local government contracting and management of debris removal from private properties for those entities voluntarily participating in the coordinated program.
  • The use of State-contracted cleanup crews.

Local government jurisdictions choosing to coordinate a fire debris cleanup may also want to consider the following:

  • Establishment of a debris removal operations center;
  • Voluntary participation programs, including the right-of-entry permit, which allows a County/City/State agency to proceed with cleanup on privately owned properties;
  • Household hazardous waste collection/coordination;
  • Removal of landscape/vegetation;
  • Erosion control.

For technical questions regarding wildfire debris and its removal, contact CalRecycle.

Disaster Waste Tracking: Jurisdictions may deduct disaster waste tonnage in their annual reports to CalRecycle so it will not negatively impact their solid waste diversion rates. In order for jurisdictions to claim this disposal reduction, it is essential that disaster waste be tracked separately from other waste at disposal facilities. For each disaster waste load received, facilities must record the tons by jurisdiction. Local government and emergency personnel have the most specific knowledge of areas that burned and facilities that are or will be receiving disaster waste. We ask that you notify all applicable facilities regarding these record-keeping needs.

Solid Waste and Recycling Facilities. Search CalRecycle's database of solid waste and recycling facilities throughout the state to find sites that accept specific material categories.

The following documents provide CalRecycle guidance for local disaster response efforts:

  • Local Enforcement Agency Advisory #43--Disaster Assistance. Guidance on disaster debris management, including selecting and securing temporary storage sites.
  • Local Enforcement Agency Advisory #41--Emergency Waiver of Standards. Guidance on the issuance of emergency waivers.
  • Integrated Waste Management Disaster Plan. CalRecycle’s 1997 plan contains information and case studies that can assist local governments in recovery efforts. Please go to the FEMA website for up-to-date information on reimbursement requirements.
    • The Executive Summary includes checklists that direct you to the information on pertinent topics.
    • Chapter 4 includes information on temporary storage and waivers.
    • Chapter 5 contains information on and examples of debris management contracts.
    • Chapter 17 includes case studies of the 1991 Oakland Fire and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake debris management programs and examples of ordinances and contracts used to manage the debris.
  • Asbestos-Containing Ash and Disaster Debris. Solid waste landfills accepting ash or other disaster debris that contains greater than 1 percent friable asbestos by weight that are not already permitted to accept such waste must obtain an emergency waiver specific to this waste type pursuant to the procedure set forth in California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Division 7, Chapter 3, Article 3. Where the Enforcement Agency has issued a waiver, the ash or debris containing greater than 1 percent friable asbestos should be handled in accordance with California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 17897.18 “Design and Operating Requirements” for solid waste facilities that dispose of asbestos-containing waste.
  • Rebuilding Green. CalRecycle's fact sheet provides ideas that can save or reduce resources in five categories: site, water, energy, materials, and indoor environmental quality as you rebuild your home after a disaster.


Last updated: November 16, 2017
Disaster Preparedness and Response
Office of Public Affairs: (916) 341-6300