Free Ash And Debris Clean-Up Offered To Home And Property Owners Affected By 2020 Wildfires

Nov 16, 2020

People in eight Oregon counties affected by this year’s wildfires can have debris and ash removed for free.

A destroyed homestead in Talent, Oregon.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

The offer is for home and business owners in Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Douglas, Clackamas, Klamath, and Jackson counties. People need only sign up on a designated website and allow right of entry to clean-up crews.

Angela Beers-Sydel is with the Oregon Debris Management Task Force. She said opting for this service can save your health and money.

“Ash and debris are really dangerous," she told KLCC.  "They can contain asbestos and chemicals harmful to your health. Doing it through this process, you’ll know it will be done right.

A home destroyed by this year's Almeda Fire, between Ashland and Talent, Oregon.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

"It also saves money.  Cleaning up on your own can cost up to $75,000. That’s money you don’t have to rebuild later.”

Beers-Sydel said people who’ve already had the EPA come in and do hazardous waste removal are ready for “Step 2”.  She adds no one will be charged up front.

“The only time someone will be charged is if they have an insurance policy that specifically says, ‘this is for debris removal.’ And a lot of people don’t have that type of insurance. 

"Or if something’s left over after you’re done rebuilding your home or business, the state may want to recoup that.”

Work will begin in December. Statewide, the process will take 6 to 18 months, with an initial cost estimate of roughly $621 million.  FEMA will reimburse the state for some eligible costs. The state will cover the remainder.

Officials say the 2020 wildfires were the largest and most expensive in Oregon’s history.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.