SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) -– Crews around the state are beginning to clear roads and private properties of trees damaged in September’s wildfires.
The tree-clearing is part of the Oregon Wildfire Recovery Debris Management Task Force’s effort to provide cleanup for homes and businesses in the eight affected counties – Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn and Marion.
The work paves the way for rebuilding efforts, community recovery and helps revitalize Oregon’s economy, the state Office of Emergency Management said in a news release Thursday, which continues in full below:
Before crews begin clearing hazard trees from private property, they will clear remaining logs and debris from roadsides. Drivers in fire-affected areas should keep an eye out for crews and be prepared to stop.
State contractors are marking trees for removal with blue dot and a barcode tracking tag. Many other entities, including utilities and private companies, continue with their own tree removal operations and have their own markings.
On private property, dead or dying trees will be removed if they pose a threat to the safety of cleanup crew or public right of ways. Ash and structural debris removal will soon follow, including concrete and other household and construction materials, from private homes and businesses. A list of what is included in cleanup is available.
Hazard trees and ash and debris cleanup are the focus of Step 2 of the cleanup, and includes homes, mobile home parks, second homes, businesses and other structures. Step 1 involved removal of hazardous household waste and was completed in December.
Home and business owners must sign an All Wildfire Debris Right of Entry Form with their county to allow cleanup crews onto their property. Visit https://wildfire.oregon.gov/ or call 503-934-1700 to submit your form and for more information. Even those who did not join in Step 1 of the cleanup may still opt into the program.
Participating property owners also need to complete a questionnaire about their property, to help with planning and ensure an efficient, safe removal of debris.
As the task force’s contract manager, the Oregon Department of Transportation is awarding three types of contracts for Step 2: hazard tree removal, debris and ash removal, and monitoring.
Given the large geographic area and volume of work, ODOT awarded the hazard tree, and ash and debris removal contracts over multiple operational areas and not as a single statewide contract.
A separate company is monitoring the cleanup work, environmental testing, and document completion of Step 2, property by property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency requires an independent company to perform monitoring work. This firm will monitor contractors removing hazard trees, ash, and debris to ensure cleanup and safety protocols and proper accounting. FEMA requires monitoring to control costs, reduce waste, and help eliminate fraud.
ODOT has awarded the following contracts:
- Based in Florida
- Contract: $75.5 million
- Awarded Nov. 19, 2020
Hazard Tree Removal (3)
Ceres Disaster Recovery – Disaster Recovery – Ceres Environmental
- Based in Florida
- Contracts awarded Nov. 25, 2020
Archie Creek Fire, OR 138, $25.78 million
Thielson Fire, OR 138, $2.07 million
Two Four Two Fire, U.S. 97, $1.91 million
ECC – https://www.ecc.net/ecc/
- Based in California
- Contracts awarded: Nov. 30, 2020
Beachie Creek / Lionshead Fire, OR 22, $17.18 million
Riverside Fire, OR 224, $71.63 million
Suulutaaq Inc. – suulutaq.com
- Based in Alaska, with an operations office in Eugene
- Contract awarded Nov. 30, 2020
Holiday Farm Fire, OR 126, $22.94 million
A video describing the OR 126 Holiday Farm Fire hazard tree removal work is available.
Ash and debris removal contracts have been awarded and that work also begins later this month.
Oregon’s 2020 Labor Day fires constitute the largest and most expensive disaster in our state’s history, burning over 1 million acres and destroying over 5,000 structures.
Initial estimates put the debris cleanup from the September 2020 Oregon wildfires at over $600 million, including $326 million for ash and debris removal and $295 million to remove hazard trees.
Oregon’s Debris Management Task Force, which includes the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Transportation, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, is coordinating federal, state, and local government agencies to clean up debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires.