Press release issued by the Oregon Debris Management Task Force on Nov. 16, 2020
SALEM – The State of Oregon will provide no-cost wildfire ash and debris cleanup for all homes and businesses in the eight counties affected by the disastrous September wildfires, the Oregon Debris Management Task Force announced today. This cleanup includes mobile home parks, second homes, businesses, and other structures.
Home and business owners that opt into this government-led wildfire cleanup program will pay no upfront costs for any cleanup work. Additionally, no government agency – state, federal or contractor - will seek payment from any insurance policy unless it is specifically designated for debris removal or left over after the home or business is completely rebuilt.
The no-cost cleanup is available to home and business owners in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties.
"Our mission is to safely clear the ash and debris as quickly as possible, and leave Oregonians with a clean site so they can rebuild," said Kris Strickler, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. "This will take time, strong partnerships and a lot of hard work, but we're already well on our way. I encourage every Oregonian who lost a home or business in the wildfires to sign a Right of Entry form with their county, if they haven't already, to help keep this important work moving forward."
Property owners need to sign a Right of Entry form to allow cleanup crews onto their property. Cleanup crews will remove ash and structural debris, hazard trees, concrete foundations, and burned vehicles. To submit your Right of Entry form and for more information, visit wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup or call the wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700.
Wildfire cleanup is a two-step process. Step 1 is removal of household hazardous waste, which is dangerous to people, communities and the environment. This work is nearly completed in all fire-impacted counties. Progress on Step 1 efforts can be viewed on EPA's 2020 Oregon Fires Recovery website.
Step 2 is removal of ash and debris. The state is currently hiring contractors to carry out this work, scheduled to begin in December 2020. The task force is working closely with local governments to determine cleanup priorities for each area. Given factors such as weather impacts, property access limitations and the large area to be covered, Step 2 is estimated to take approximately 6 to 18 months to complete statewide. As the state task force gets contractors on board, more clarity on timing will be provided.
The 2020 September wildfires were the largest and most expensive disaster in Oregon's history. Nine Oregonians lost their lives, more than 1 million acres burned and over 5,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. The state has transitioned from immediate fire response to statewide recovery.
FEMA will reimburse the state for a portion of eligible costs. The State of Oregon will fund the remaining costs, regardless of FEMA reimbursement. Initial estimates put the debris cleanup tally at over $600 million, including $326 million for ash and debris removal and $295 million to remove damaged trees. This estimate is preliminary and is likely to change.
Wildfire cleanup webpage: https://wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup
Wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700
Oregon's Debris Management Task Force, which includes the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Transportation, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, is coordinating federal, state, and local government agencies to clean up debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires.