California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

News Release

Office of Public Affairs

For Immediate Release: October 8, 2014
Release #2014-24
For more information contact:
Media Contacts: Melinda Beer
Heather Jones

CalRecycle Launches Boles Fire Disaster Cleanup: 150 homes damaged or destroyed—state works with local companies to restore community

Cleanup crews bag material

Cleanup crews bag material contaminated with plastic
on one of the burned properties

SACRAMENTO--The city of Weed is getting urgent disaster recovery assistance from the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) to clean up sites destroyed and damaged by the recent 479-acre Boles Fire.

“This community has been devastated, and we’re responding rapidly to provide cleanup and help our fellow Californians begin the road to recovery,” CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen said. “We have crews on the ground, and we’re going to get the work done as quickly as we can to clear the properties of ash and debris and protect the public and the environment.”

The Sept. 15 fire destroyed or damaged more than 150 homes and other buildings in the Siskiyou County community about an hour north of Redding, near Mount Shasta. At least 1,500 people were evacuated.

The first phase of the cleanup project will focus on ash and debris removal to minimize impacts to the surrounding community, and to prevent further migration of the materials as anticipated winter weather approaches.

  

Crews clean up a site where a home burned in the Boles Fire

One of the hardest-hit areas is near the local elementary school, and crews are working to remove ash as quickly as possible to keep it from drifting toward that school as well as the nearby high school. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing cleanup of the local library, which was destroyed, as high levels of asbestos were recorded in ash and debris there. The first phase is expected to be completed in the next three to four weeks.

The Department of Toxic Substances Control is initially screening all properties and is removing hazardous materials prior to debris removal activities. CalRecycle will take the remaining, non-hazardous ash and debris to a nearby landfill in Anderson permitted to receive such materials, while recyclable metals will be taken to Black Butte Towing in Weed, and recyclable concrete will be taken to Sousa Ready Mix in Mount Shasta. CalRecycle is working with area companies such as local haulers and water trucks to transport the material and keep dust levels down.

Following clean up, crews will work on controlling future erosion at the fire-stripped sites, and removing trees that pose a potential hazard due to the damage they suffered in the blaze.

The initial estimate for the entire project is $4 million. The cleanup will ultimately be paid for with disaster relief funding from the Office of Emergency Services. The home sites will be left in a condition suitable for future rebuilding efforts.

Also involved in the cleanup is the Siskiyou County Department of Public Health, which has declared a public health emergency.

Please contact Melinda Beer for high-res photos


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