Phase 1 | Household Hazardous Waste Removal 
Start Date: Currently underway
Agency: US Environmental Protection Agency
Cost: Provided at no cost to residents. All residents whose homes were destroyed from the fires are automatically enrolled into the Phase 1 removal program.      

  • Those using a private contractor can opt-out.
  • Make sure your property is on the county’s structure status map.
  • Includes rapid removal of household hazardous waste, including propane tanks, compressed gas cylinders, and solvents.
  • Assessment of properties for asbestos and remove easily identifiable asbestos material.

Phase 2 | Debris Removal 
Start Date: Following Completion of Phase 1, Estimated to begin mid-December, 2020
Agency: Cal OES & California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery
Cost: There is no direct cost to property owners, however, in exchange for the government performing this service, property owners must sign a “Right of Entry” form in which they agree that any insurance proceeds in a property owner’s homeowners insurance policy designated for debris removal will be turned over to the government. To sign the Right of Entry form, please click here

  1. Site assessment and documentation
    • Conduct background soil sampling to establish cleanup goals for the project; identify and remove any remaining asbestos-containing materials.
    • Measure and record foundation, structures, debris, utility infrastructure, and property-specific hazards.
  2. Debris removal
    • Remove, transport, and properly dispose of all burnt debris, ash, and contaminated soil; recycle concrete and metal.
  3. Confirmation Sampling
    • Collect multiple soil samples from cleared lot for independent testing and analysis by California-certified laboratories.
    • Assess soil sample results (CalRecycle) to ensure cleanup goals are met; re-scrape soil from portions of the parcel as necessary.
  4. Erosion control measures
    • Implement stormwater best management practices to control sediment runoff.
  5. Final inspection
    • Conduct final walk-through of the property (CalRecycle). Deliver Notice of Final Approval to the County for acceptance.



  • Those who opt-out will have to sign a comprehensive acknowledgment, waiver that they assume full responsibility for debris removal and all associated costs, which may be substantial and disposal impractical for individual property owners due to the limited number of approved disposal sites. 
  • Choosing to opt-out of Phase 1 automatically disqualifies property owners from Phase 2 Debris Removal and Property Clean-Up. In addition, there are criminal penalties associated with unauthorized disposal and dumping of hazardous materials.

What is the Owner Initiated Fire Debris Removal application?  

  • The application is a form requesting to begin cleanup work with the county. It provides the county information on the owner, which property and the contractor chosen to perform the work. Once approved, the owner will receive a link to the Owner Initiated Fire Debris Removal Standard Work Plan Template.     

What is the Owner Initiated Fire Debris Removal Standard Work Plan Template?  

  • Before any cleanup work can begin, the owner or contractor must submit this Work Plan to the Fresno County Environmental Health Division for review and approval. The Work Plan outlines a series of topics that need to be addressed in the cleanup to meet state and local requirements. 

How long will it take for my application and Work Plan to be approved? 

  • Application will be reviewed within 2 business days upon receipt of each item.  Application and Work Plan will be reviewed during normal business hours, from 8:00am to 5:00pm. 

 Do I need to provide receipts or documents related to the debris cleanup? 

  • Yes, documents including disposal receipts, manifests, test results, will need to be submitted after the completion of the fire debris cleanup to the Fresno County Environmental Health Division for review. This will provide documentation needed for the property owner to receive a Clearance Letter from the County. The Clearance Letter will need to be presented to the Public Works Departments in order to begin the process of receiving a building permit.


Do the debris removal requirements only apply for houses that were completely destroyed?  What about non-residential structures? 

  • Proper debris removal is required of - Fire damaged or destroyed houses - All auxiliary structures 120 square feet or larger which were fire damaged or destroyed - Auxiliary structures less than 120 square feet that contained hazardous materials Auxiliary structures less than 120 square feet which did not contain hazardous materials are exempt from the Owner Initiated Fire Debris Removal application process.   

What if my home is not listed on the County's damage assessment map?

What if my cabin that burned was on Forest Service property? Will I be included in the Phase 1 or Phase 2 cleanup?

  • Dwellings on federal land will likely qualify for Phase 1 cleanup. Fresno County is working to provide us with detailed information. We will update you as soon as they have an answer.

Can I be onsite during Phase 2 cleanup in the hopes of recovering important items that survived the fire?

  • The safety of the general public and workers is a priority during debris operations. To prevent safety hazards, the public is encouraged to stay away from areas where debris removal operations are underway.