Guzziwest Inspection And Consulting

Camp Fire — New Website Formed and Plans Coming Together

The County of Butte and Town of Paradise have launched a new website to provide residents affected by the Camp Fire with a one-stop-shop for information and resources for recovery efforts (https://buttecountyrecovers.org/).  The website appears very well put together and offers information from housing for displaced residents to re-entry to the debris removal programs.  Guzi-West will continue to monitor this website, and others, for current information on the recovery elements being developed for the Camp Fire.

The pressing questions most residents want to know are when can I get back into my property and when can I begin to re-build.  It appears some residents have been given access, although numerous warnings have been issued regarding hazardous materials and dangerous conditions being present.  Meanwhile, some areas remain under mandatory evacuation.  Detailed information for both scenarios can be obtained here:  https://buttecountyrecovers.org/re-entry.  The second question regarding when can residents begin to re-build is significantly more complicated to explain.  As laid out in our previous write-up, this is a multi-step process that consists of assessing and removing hazardous wastes (predominantly household hazardous wastes and obvious asbestos); removing ash and fire debris; excavating 3-6 inches of ‘contaminated' soil beneath the ash footprint; collecting confirmation soil samples and submitting them for analysis to ensure a ‘clean/safe' lot for re-building; and, ultimately providing a report specifying completion of all of these activities to the County of Butte/Town of Paradise wherein they will ‘certify' satisfactory cleanup of individual lots and clear them for re-building.  Our previous write-up, Rebuilding Ater the Camp Fire, explains this process in more detail.  

The debris removal webpage at https://buttecountyrecovers.org/debrisremoval explains, "there will be two options for property owners to manage the debris and ash from the wildfire disaster. The property owner can either sign up for the government-sponsored debris removal program or they may undertake the clean-up at their own expense through private fire debris cleanup with work performed by qualified personnel under oversight of the Environmental Health Division. The hazardous waste and debris removal program through the state and federal programs will not have any out-of-pocket costs for the property owner."  This is the same program employed for the Carr Fire in Redding and there are a couple important notes that homeowners should bear in mind as they move forward with making this decision.  The portion of your insurance coverage allocated for debris removal will have to be forfeited to Butte County/ Paradise if you elect to participate in the state-sponsored debris removal program so while we agree there will be no ‘out of pocket' costs to homeowners, there will still be a cost.  If you did not have insurance coverage, then your decision should obviously be to opt-in to the state-sponsored program wherein all cleanup costs will be covered by the state and federal programs.  In our experience in Redding, most homeowners who opted-out of the state-sponsored program did so as they wanted the process to be completed faster and at their direction; wished to preserve certain portions of their property which would not be under the state sponsored program (i.e. any concrete foundation, retaining wall, decorative concrete, patios, etc.); wanted to maintain control over who did and did not access their property, etc.  Guzi-West prepared a step by step guide for homeowners in the Redding area facing the question of to opt-in or to opt-out of the state-sponsored program and we will prepare a specific guide for the Paradise greater community once additional information is published by Butte County/Paradise.

If we can help provide you guidance, information, or be of any help in general, please feel free to contact me and I will provide whatever help I can at no charge.

Sincerely,
Clay Guzi,
clay@guziwest.com,
888-351-8189 x 1


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