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Statewide California Wildfires Debris Removal Update

All 770 private properties in El Dorado County whose owners enrolled in California’s statewide Consolidated Debris Removal Program following last year’s Caldor Fire have completed the entire debris removal process and been returned to county officials to begin the permitting process for reconstruction.

The 770 returned properties include 595 parcels enrolled in the full debris removal program and 175 parcels enrolled in the hazardous trees only element.

The returned properties also include the sites of two important community symbols – Pioneer Fire District Station 35 and the Grizzly Flats Community Church.

Prior to the fire, Station 35 served as a sign of safety for local residents and housed 12 volunteer firefighters and a battalion chief. Without Station 35 and until a temporary station was built by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California Department of General Services in conjunction with state and local partners, the nearest engine available to serve the community was located 35 to 45 minutes away in the town of Mt. Aukum.

The loss of the church not only left residents without one of its places of worship, it left the community without one its centerpiece places for meetings of the local Fire Safe Council and other groups.

Under the program, administered by Cal OES and the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), in collaboration with county officials, participating property owners incur no direct costs.

Return of the properties to county officials follows the completion of site assessments; asbestos surveys; the removal of bulk quantities of asbestos containing materials; and the removal of eligible debris.

The process also included analysis of soil samples by a certified laboratory to verify they met state health and environmental standards; the felling and removal of hazardous trees; the implementation of erosion control measures; and a final walkthrough by state debris officials to ensure all work meets state standards.

Debris removal operations on recreational residences located on United States Forest Service (USFS) land in El Dorado County continues. To date, crews have finished clearing debris from 155, or 91.7 percent, of 169 such properties. To date, 65, or 38.5 percent, of those parcels have completed the entire debris removal process and been returned to county officials.