Santa Rosa, CA – September 16, 2020 – The California Department of Toxic Substance Control has initiated the Phase 1 Household Hazardous Waste Sweeps of properties with damaged or destroyed structures from the Meyers and Walbridge fires in Sonoma County.
Phase 1 is mandatory for all properties that were affected by the fire and will be conducted with no cost to property owners. On Tuesday, certified contractor crews started entering damaged or properties in the burn zone and removing all hazardous materials (products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic). Vehicles are not included in the hazardous household waste sweeps.
Sonoma County Hazardous Materials Unit staff and a member of the 2020 Watershed Task Force will be accompanying the state crews. The majority of properties should be cleared in two to three weeks, but full completion is dependent on the volume of hazardous materials and access to properties.
If property owners are aware of any obstacles that the contractor may have in accessing their properties (burned bridges, downed trees, etc.), please call (707) 565-2024 or email HazMat@Sonoma-County.org to report the issues.
Residents should refrain from entering the burn footprint without personal protective equipment and should not begin cleanup activities until authorized by the Sonoma County Department of Health Services, Environmental Health. Hazardous debris after a wildfire can be toxic, and improper transportation and disposal of fire debris can create dangerous health impacts throughout the community. Additional information about returning home safely, and HHW and debris removal, can be found at socoemergency.org/recover.
Please continue to adhere to road closures and any evacuation warnings. Please drive slowly and yield to emergency personnel in the area.
To check if the hazardous household waste sweeps have been completed on your property, click on the below link to an interactive map. Residents and owners can enter their address into the map search to view whether their property has been swept here: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Rebuild/Walbridge-Meyers-RESA/
Once Phase 1 sweeps have been completed, property owners must submit a completed application and receive approval to begin Phase 2 clean-up. Questions regarding the Phase 2 debris removal can be sent to Sonoma County Environmental Health Division at (707) 565-6700 and email to EHDebrisRemoval@sonoma-county.org
Details on Phase 1 and Phase 2 debris removal can be found at: https://socoemergency.org/recover/walbridge-meyers-fire-recovery/debris-removal/
The county is still under public health orders for COVID-19, so physical distancing, wearing a facial covering and prohibitions on gatherings with people outside of your household are still in effect. Continue to wear a cloth or surgical mask to protect yourself against COVID-19, but note they do not protect you from wildfire smoke. Instead, wear a N95 respirator mask to protect your lungs from wildfire smoke. If your N95 has a one-way valve, prevent the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a cloth face covering or surgical mask on top of your N95 mask. For more information about the health order, visit socoemergency.org/emergency/novel-coronavirus.