Phase II of Camp Fire debris removal to begin Tuesday


David Yogi and Alejandro Diaz, Environmental Protection Agency representatives, look at the informational map showing the addresses in the Paradise area that have been cleared with Phase I debris removal. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Dozens gathered at Elk’s Lodge Monday night to hear the status of debris clean-up in Paradise and surrounding areas. With the Camp Fire breaking out almost three months ago on November 8, many were concerned with how much longer the road to recovery would be.

“The goal we’re shooting for is 12 months,” Eric Lamoureux, acting deputy director of California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CAL OES), said about the length of time for the removal of hazardous debris in Paradise at a Monday night meeting.

Phase I of clean-up began on December 3 and will be complete by Tuesday. Agencies from the California State Department of Toxic Substances Control and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspected the properties to remove the hazardous waste, said Alejandro Diaz, EPA representative.

Casey Hatcher, Butte County Economic Community and Development Manager, and Eric Lamoureux, CAL OES Acting Deputy Director, speak at the Phase II debris removal public information meeting at Elk’s Lodge. Photo credit: Olyvia Simpson

Tuesday begins Phase II of debris removal in Paradise and surrounding areas affected by the Camp Fire.

“There will be about 200 crews at any given point working throughout Butte County to remove the hazardous materials,” Lamoureux said. “It will take the crew approximately two to three days to clean each individual property.”

The first step in Phase II is for crews to set-up an exclusion zone on the property. From there, crews will remove concrete and metal foundations that are not structurally sound.

“We are focused on the ash footprint where the structure burned,” Lamoureux said.

For the final part of Phase II, three to six inches of soil is removed and the ground is tested to ensure that the soil is clean, said Lamoureux. The ash debris is taken to the Neal Road Landfill.

The clean-up is paid for by debris removal coverage in the property owner’s insurance policy. Lamoureux said that CAL EOS will not take any more than the amount allocated for debris removal in the property owner’s policy.

Phase II debris removal must be completed by every property owner. Debris removal can be done through a government-sponsored program or an alternative program where property owners hire their own contractor. The deadline to register for the government-sponsored option is Jan 31. The deadline for the alternative option is Feb 28.

More information can be found at or at the CAL OES office at 2805 Esplanade in Chico.

Olyvia Simpson can be reached at [email protected] or @OSimpson15 on Twitter.