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Wildfire Cleanup

Wildfire Cleanup

Wildfire Cleanup is a Two-Step Process

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners for fast, efficient and safe cleanup of the wildfires that devastated Oregon in summer 2020.

The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are leading the effort. The group is called the Oregon Wildfire Debris Management Task Force.

Property owners who participate in the state-led cleanup will not pay any money up front for debris removal on their property.*


Step 1 Cleanup

The state and EPA cleared hazardous waste dangerous to the public. Work for this step was completed in early December 2020.

Learn More

Step 2 Cleanup

State-hired contractors are removing hazard trees, and ash and debris. Work began in December 2020, and it will take 6-18 months to complete.

Learn More


Questions about wildfire cleanup? Call our wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700 or email questions to odot.wildfire@odot.state.or.us.

*Property owners will pay no upfront cost if they are participating in the state-led cleanup program. If your insurance policy specifically designates funds for cleanup and you do not use them, or if there are insurance funds left over after you have rebuilt your home or business, the state will ask for those funds as reimbursement. This would happen after the entire cleanup process is completed. Learn more about insurance recoup below in the FAQ section.

Sign up for Step 2

You can still sign up for the cleanup

Property owners must sign and submit an access agreement, called a Right of Entry form, which allows Step 2 cleanup crews onto their property.

All Wildfire Debris Right of Entry Form

If you submitted a Right of Entry form for Step 1 only and now want to participate in Step 2, you must sign the All Wildfire Debris Right of Entry form for your county.

If you signed the All Wildfire Debris Right of Entry form, you do not need to submit another form for Step 2.

If you’re unsure about the status of your Right of Entry form, call the wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700.

Already signed up?

Thank you! But we need additional information about your property. Complete the online questionnaire below to send us that info. To access the questionnaire, you must use the access number from the letter the state sent you about the cleanup process. This number helps us verify your identity, and keep your information confidential. Letters were mailed to property owners the week of Dec. 13, 2020.

Private Property Debris Removal Questionnaire

If you signed up but did not receive a letter from us about the cleanup, or lost your letter, call our wildfire debris cleanup hotline for help: 503-934-1700.

Visit the Step 2 cleanup progress page to look up the cleanup status for your property. See cleanup progress by county, photos and videos of work done so far, and more.


Opt Out of Step 2

Participating in Step 2 cleanup is voluntary, but we recommend it. Cleanup can be dangerous, time consuming and expensive. It may reduce the amount of insurance money you have available to rebuild your home.

If you decide to do cleanup yourself you must:


General Cleanup FAQs

If you choose to do cleanup yourself, it will be at your own cost. Removal of household hazardous waste and debris can be an expensive process, costing as much as $75,000. Even with insurance, a majority of this cost may not be covered.
 
The state and federal government is committed to paying for removal of household hazardous waste, which means that property owners can reserve their insurance funds for other recovery efforts.
 
The Wildfire Debris Removal Task Force strongly urges individual property owners not to remove hazardous materials and debris themselves because of the potential risks to health and safety. However, if you take on cleanup yourself, please do the following:

  • Contact your county or call 682-800-5737 to opt out of the assisted cleanup.

  • Contact your insurance provider before you begin cleanup to learn of requirements they may have for reimbursement.

  • Contact your county or city code enforcement agency to determine their cleanup requirements for new construction permits.

  • Determine if the ash and debris contain asbestos. Many homes and buildings have materials with asbestos. State rules govern various aspects of managing and removing asbestos. You can hire an accredited inspector to survey your property for asbestos-containing materials, or you can presume that all debris and ash contain asbestos. DEQ strongly recommends hiring a licensed abatement contractor to perform any abatement activities. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and there is no known safe level of exposure. Refer to guidance on DEQ's asbestos webpage or contact DEQ prior to starting any ash or debris cleanup activities.

  • Contact your local waste disposal site to learn what requirements they have for waste acceptance. Many landfills require specific documentation of the waste you drop off so they can handle it properly and comply with regulations. This can include lab results to determine what hazardous materials are in your debris. If you do not have the proper documentation, you may not be allowed to dispose of your debris.

  • Cover ash and debris loads during transport.

  • Asbestos containing waste materials must be packaged properly for transport and disposal. This means double bagging the material in 6 mil plastic sheeting, and labeling it as asbestos.

  • Recycle metal, concrete and wood debris. Clean recyclable materials with water prior to transport to reduce the spread of asbestos or other contaminants in the ash. Do not discharge water containing ash into the stormwater system or surface waters, as it can cause water quality issues.
  • Find more information about cleanup requirements on DEQ's wildfire debris removal webpage.

  • Follow safety precautions outlined here.​

            The state is paying for the cost of wildfire cleanup for affected property owners and will not recoup insurance money you need to use to rebuild your home. The state would only recoup insurance money that is specifically designated for debris removal, or that is left over after you have rebuilt your home. These recouped funds will help cover the cost of cleanup statewide. 

            State and county agencies are required by FEMA to make an effort to recoup insurance funds specified for debris removal or left over after you have rebuilt your home. This is to ensure there is not a duplication of benefits.

            There are two types of debris removal coverages in a property owner's insurance policy: specified amount for debris removal, and no specified amount for debris removal.

            Specified amount for debris removal: Some insurance policies have specific funds for debris removal. The state will try to recoup the funds specifically designated for debris removal; but only these funds. They will not try to recoup funds that could go toward rebuilding.

            No specified amount for debris removal: The state will only ask for leftover insurance funds after the property owner has rebuilt their home. If no funds are left over, the state will not ask for additional payment. If funds are left over, the amount is capped at the cost of debris removal for that property.

            The state will also not ask for any additional payment beyond the insurance money you have left over. For example, if your property cleanup cost the state $10,000, and you have $1,000 insurance funds left after you've rebuilt your home, the state will only ask for that $1,000.​

            We recommend you verify the specifics of your insurance policy with your insurance agent, so you know what to expect after cleanup is complete for your property. 


            The state strongly urges individual property owners not to use their insurance to pay for wildfire cleanup. Instead, we recommend owners opt in to the state and county-led wildfire cleanup program that is offered to property owners at no cost.

            This means that property owners can save their insurance funds for other recovery efforts, like rebuilding their homes or businesses.

            If you have specific insurance questions, contact Oregon’s Insurance Commission Consumer Advocate Hotline: 888-877-4894.​

            Property owners will pay no upfront cost and no government agency or contractor working for them will recoup any insurance money unless it is designated for debris or left over after rebuilding your home.​

            ​We’re following our standard, proven erosion control methods in operation areas. Along highways, crews are chipping slash and other tree debris and spreading the chips on slopes to help stabilize the area. We’re also hydroseeding and mulching areas after hazard tree removal.​

            On private property, crews will use tree chips to stabilize work areas, but will not be hydroseeding.


            Yes. The property owner just needs to sign an access agreement to allow cleanup crews on their property. The access agreement is called a Right of Entry form. Personal information will not be shared with the federal government. Contact your county to find more information about how to submit your access agreement.​

            If you choose to return to your property, follow these safety tips ​to protect yourself and your family.

            Why this process is important

            We understand that, as Oregonians, we want to return to our communities and begin the recovery process. Waiting for a larger process to get set up can seem frustrating, but there are important reasons for doing this.

            Save Money

            Removal of household hazardous waste and debris can be an incredibly expensive process, costing as much as $75,000. Even with insurance, a majority of this cost may not be covered. The state is committed to paying for removal of household hazardous waste, which means that property owners can reserve their insurance funds for other recovery efforts.

            FEMA Reimbursement and Eligibility

            FEMA does not work directly with individual property owners on cleanup work. FEMA will only work with and reimburse the state or county for cleanup work.

            Threat to Your Health

            Doing your own cleanup without proper protection puts your health at risk. Burned materials are hazardous and require more than gloves and a mask to protect your health. Buildings constructed before 2004 are likely to contain asbestos, which is carcinogenic.

            Difficult to Dispose

            Many landfills require specific documentation of the waste people drop off so they can handle it properly and comply with their regulation. This can include lab results to determine what hazardous materials are in your debris. If you do not have the proper documentation, you may not be allowed to dispose of your debris.

            Sign up to get updates on wildfire debris removal

            Sign up for monthly e-newsletter for updates.

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            Questions?

            Questions about wildfire cleanup? Call our wildfire debris cleanup hotline: 503-934-1700. Or email questions to odot.wildfire@odot.state.or.us.

            Contractor questions: for more information about contracting opportunities for wildfire cleanup, call 971-718-6681 or katie.k.hubler@odot.state.or.us.

             
             

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