Cleanup

Fire Cleanup in Beachie Creek

If your home, business or property was damaged by the wildfires, the fire cleanup process may seem overwhelming but resources are available to help you. Government partners are working together to safely address the fire cleanup and help you get your property ready to rebuild. Cleanup is a two-step process.

Step 1: Household hazardous waste removal

This step involves safely removing household hazardous waste to minimize your exposure to dangerous chemicals. Crews specializing in identifying and safely removing hazardous substances are visiting Santiam Canyon properties to do this work at no cost to you. Crews will safely identify and dispose of large pieces of asbestos materials. Funding for this service is provided by the federal and state government but you must complete a Right of Entry Form for the county you live in (see below), if you haven’t done so already.

Right of Entry Forms

Household hazardous waste includes:

  • Fuel and petroleum
  • Pool chemicals
  • Car batteries
  • Antifreeze
  • Used oil filters
  • Solvents
  • Fertilizers
  • Pesticides
  • Propane tanks
  • High pressure cylinders
  • Disinfectants
  • Aerosols
  • Paint
  • Bleach
  • Ammunition and more

Asbestos testing requirement
Every property owner must have asbestos testing done by a certified contractor after household hazardous waste has been removed. After this has been completed, you will receive a report from the contractor certifying that your property is asbestos free.

Step 2: Removal of ash, debris and burned-out structures

This step includes the removal of ash, remaining structural debris, asbestos, metals, concrete, danger trees and other wildfire debris. Step two cannot begin until household hazardous waste removal (Step 1) is complete.

State, county and federal partners are actively working together on ash and debris removal. The state estimates this work could take up to 18 months to complete throughout the entire state. This timeline includes considerations such as weather impacts, property access limitations and geographic scope. Find the latest information at wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup.

What if I want to take care of the fire cleanup myself?
DEQ and EPA strongly urge individual property owners not to remove hazardous materials and debris themselves because of the potential risks to health and safety. In addition, 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.

However, if you decide to take on the cleanup yourself, please consider DEQ precautions and recommended guidelines. Also be sure to use a licensed asbestos abatement contractor for Step 1: Household hazardous waste removal. You can start your search for a contractor by referencing a list provided by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. This list does not constitute an endorsement by the Department but is rather a list of those contractors holding a current license with the DEQ.

Protecting your property from erosion
Wildfire damage reduces the ability of land to absorb water. Coupled with the loss of plants, properties become at increased risk for flash flooding, landslides and soil loss. Controlling erosion after wildfires is important not only to property owners but also to the watershed. With an increased risk of erosion, runoff produces sediment and other pollutants washed into streams and lowering water quality. Not only does it put wildlife such as salmon at risk but the City of Salem’s water supply can also be affected potentially increasing costs for the treatment of drinking water.

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