PARADIS – State and local officials urge people who lost their homes and businesses in the fire camp to register for the government-sponsored debris removal program by the January 31st deadline.

Paradise Mayor Jody Jones, MP James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter approved the program at a press conference held in Paradise on Thursday, noting that the cleaning was an important step for a speedy recovery.

The most destructive fire in California's history has left a large amount of debris in its wake, requiring the greatest after-fire debris clean-up in the state's history. It destroyed about 18,800 structures, including nearly 14,000 houses.

Gallagher said that although often "very skeptical of the government" itself – one of the reasons he had embarked on politics – the state's program has been "in the dark". was revealed effective after other natural disasters.

"We want this process to be very efficient, so that we do not have, you know, piles of rubble left behind, which are not treated and which could be the object of 39, a process of abandonment later, "he said. .

The state's debris removal program is free at the start. If an owner has insurance covering the removal of debris, the state will benefit from this specifically allocated funding. But there is no cost to the owners directly.

The alternative is to hire contractors and certified consultants and pay for the work. But homeowners who prefer this option must submit another fire debris removal application form to Butte County and obtain a work plan approved by the county's Environmental Health Department.

Inaction may be more expensive. If the owners do not essentially choose the government program, this could lead to a reduction process. And this could cause the owner to pay the entire bill for the work.

Cal OES director Mark Ghilarducci said that since the debris removal was done quickly after the North Bay wildfires, neighborhoods like Coffey Park were making great strides in reconstruction.

"The lot will be clear and it will be treated very respectfully," said Ghilarducci. "The lot will then be certified at the end of the cleaning, it will be turnkey and ready to be rebuilt."

State officials have stated that it is expected that the removal of debris takes about a year and that the cleaning of a lot takes from two to three days on average. They said that the state would hire as many local subcontractors as possible.

Mayor Jones gave some tips for completing the debris removal forms, based on her personal experience. Jones urged people to read them carefully and apply as soon as possible, without waiting for the deadline.

Gallagher recalled that victims who have received a letter of refusal from the Federal Emergency Management Agency could try again to seek help, and that the deadline for requesting disaster assistance by The FEMA intermediary had been extended until 31 January.

Paradise Mayor Jody Jones spoke to reporters about the government-sponsored debris removal program at the Paradise City Hall on Thursday. She is accompanied by James Gallagher, member of the Assembly, and Mark Ghilarducci, director of Cal OES. (Risa Johnson

Casey Hatcher, a spokesman for the county, said by phone after the press conference that about 4,300 people, accounting for about 30% of the packages containing burned structures, had enrolled in the suppression program. debris from the state. No action has been taken for the remaining 60% of remaining parcels, Hatcher said.

Although she did not have an estimate, she said a "handful" of applications for the recently announced alternative process had been submitted so far.

Some people seem reluctant to enroll in the state program because they have learned that it will be quicker to hire a private contractor. In some cases, this will be the case, said Hatcher. The state hopes to release the final batch in a year.

Another common concern is how much of the insurance funding would go to the national debris removal program. Hatcher advises homeowners to question their insurer on their policy.

Two of the most frequently asked questions relate to entrepreneurs: find out if the county has a list of suggested authorized contractors and how the payment works if the homeowners choose the alternative program. Hatcher stated that such a list did not exist and that the owners assumed full responsibility for payment under the alternative program.

The main message she wanted to convey was that owners had to submit applications for the program of their choice. If they do not do anything, many will be cleaned up, one way or the other.

"It's a community health problem if we leave debris on the properties," she said.

More than 90 percent of the properties destroyed by Carr's fire last summer joined the state's clean-up program, according to Pat Minturn, Director of Public Works and Director of Recovery at Carr. Fire for Shasta County. In a phone interview, Minturn said that about 101 properties had opted out of the program, while about 1,050 homes and about 100 major dependencies had chosen to participate.

He said the county had received "very few" complaints about the work done.

"Overall, it's very successful," said Minturn.

There was inaction on about five parcels in the county, he said. The state always cleaned lots and privileges will now be placed on these properties.

You will find forms and more information on debris removal at the following address: buttecountyrecovers.org.