Cascade Fire victims can sign up for coordinated debris cleanup program

Yuba County officials encourage residents affected by the Cascade Fire to participate in a coordinated debris removal program.

Much of the funding for the coordinated effort comes from State Disaster Assistance funds and supplemented with portions of the property owner’s insurance, according to a county Community Development and Services Agency news release. The work will be performed by professional contractors with experience in fire damage debris removal, allowing property owners to focus on other priorities.

County officials caution that debris and ash from structures destroyed by fire may contain hazardous substances. Exposure to these substances may lead to acute and chronic health effects and may cause long-term public health and environmental problems. Uncontrolled hazardous material and debris can pose threats to public health through inhalation of dust particles and contamination of drinking water supplies.

To ensure the safety of those working on affected properties, as well as the public and the environment, certain protocols must be followed in removing structural ash and debris, the news release said.

Property owners may participate in a county debris program in which property with destroyed structures are offered a cleanup and debris removal service conducted by specialized work crews, contracted and managed by the county and state waste specialists. Owners must sign up for the program using a right-to-enter form to allow access to their property to complete the removal.

The program will first remove all household hazardous waste associated with burned structures. Then remaining debris, including foundations associated with structures 120 square feet or larger, will be removed. Right-to-enter forms will soon be available through the county.

Property owners who choose not to participate in the county and state-sponsored debris program are expected to arrange to have their property cleaned up by a qualified contractor. The contractor must possess either a valid class A-general engineering or C-21 building moving demolition license, and the work must meet standards that adequately address health and safety risks.

Documentation of adequate cleanup and proper disposal of debris will be required. State and county disaster funding will not reimburse property owners for the privately contracted work, the news release said.

Property owners must notify the county within 30 days if they choose to hire their own contractor.

For more information, call the Yuba County Community Development and Services Agency, 530-749-5430, or see the Yuba County website.

A local assistance center will be open until 8 p.m. Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at the Yuba County Government Center, 915 Eighth St., in Marysville. Representatives of local, state and federal agencies will be available to help start people on the path to recovering from the fire.

Cathy Locke: 916-321-5287, @lockecathy