Butte Fire Hazmat Update

Are you suspicious about the workers asking to enter your property? Do you have concerns that someone may be posing as an agent of CalRecyle?

As the hazardous materials debris removal process moves along, some property owners question the legitimacy of contractors who are contacting them about further work on their property. Applying the wise adage “Better safe than sorry”, it’s smart to watch out for scam operations. If you have concerns about whether a contractor is an agent of CalRecycle, simply call the Butte Fire Operations Center 209-584-4347 and ask them to confirm the identity of the contact.

As of February 19, 2016, the CalRecycle crews have cleared 611 of the 819 identified properties. The 31 task forces are spread throughout the fire area. Of the cleared properties, the majority are in the final three stages of removal: soil assessment sampling, erosion control and County environmental health approval.
 

Where's the Haz Mat Clean Up Crew in Butte Fire Area?

 

According to CalRecycle waste management engineer Wes Minderman, although at least 32 crews are working in the clean up area, they have only completed about 28% of the properties(779 registered and 216 completed.) Some property owners are concerned about the status of hazardous material inspections and removal.  According to the Butte Fire Clean Up website debris removal was suspended on November 15th.  but Mr. Minderman explains that the suspension was temporary and resumed as soon as weather permitted. 

Currently the crews are focusing on the center of the fire area where management fears that they will lose access: Jesus Maria, Baker Riley, and Hawver areas.  Mr. Minderman and his staff are willing to answer any questions at 916-341-6320.  If you would like current information about your property and the hazmat debris removal, contact Natalie Lee the Butte Fire Debris Removal Planning Chief at 916-835-7478. 

PG&E Still Talking About "Free" Removal

Over 20 days ago, PG&E announced an "Updated Expanded Debris Removal Program".  Today, it continues to tout the program.  It has prepared a mailing to go out today for all of its affected customers.  PG&E set a December 31st deadline to opt in.  

To participate,  PG&E requires the property owner to submit a debris removal authorization form. But that form doesn't seem to exist.  It has not been shown to the attorneys and it is not part of the PG&E mailing. 

If you haven't heard, here are the details of the program:

Does your tree qualify for free removal?

According to PG&E it must meet one or more of the criteria below:
 
  • Wood greater than 4 inch in diameter and 6 feet in length
  • Within 100 feet of a structure or foundation
  • Within 20 feet of main roads, driveways and private roads
  • Where reasonably accessible by equipment/machinery
  • If logs are unstable along steep banks and may block a watercourse or roadway
 
Your options for removal, if your tree(s) qualify:
 
  • Move, cut up or pile wood and leave on your property
  • Chip and broadcast wood on site where accessible
  • Haul donated wood away offsite
If you qualify and you are represented by an attorney, you should contact your attorney about the program.
 
Time will tell whether this is anything more than another PG&E public relations campaign.
 

PG&E's New Tree Debris Removal Program: A Waste of Time?

In response to landowner complaints, PG&E has agreed to remove all woody debris that is "reasonably accessible" and is:

·       greater than 4 inches in diameter and 6 feet or greater in length; and

·       within 100 feet of a structure or foundation or within 20 feet of main roads, driveways and private roads; or

·     on a steep banks with a potential target of waterways or roadways. 

PG&E will not compensate the landowners for the timber it removes and it may take up to three months to do the work.

And what is "reasonably accessible"? What does PG&E plan to do with all of the timber?  

While many landowners may agree this is a waste of time, or too little too late; some may want to take advantage of the program.  If so, the participation deadline: December 31, 2015.