EPA completed its
support mission to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the State of
California, and local partners in the cleanup to the fires. In August 2021, FEMA
requested EPA support household hazardous waste (HHW) assessments and cleanup
at residential parcels affected by the Dixie
Fire in Plumas and Lassen counties.
In early October, EPA completed phase
1 HHW removal operations work
in El Dorado county as
part of the Caldor Fire cleanup.
EPA teams worked with
the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and assessed
properties with fire-damaged structures and removed HHW. HHW includes leftover
household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain
circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic. This included products such as
paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, herbicides, and pesticides.
Following a fire, these products require special handling and disposal,
particularly if their contents are compromised.
EPA and DTSC's efforts
reduced potential threats to the environment, and strengthened public health
and safety, and allowed safe removal of solid waste, debris, and ash in the
fire-affected areas during the second phase of the cleanup. EPA coordinated
with cities and counties to keep communities informed about the status of the
Agency's HHW collection activities.
For more information on the first phase of cleanup efforts,
please visit EPA's StoryMap, a web site that includes an address lookup tool
that allows viewers to type in an address and ensure that it is on the cleanup
list, shows the cleanup status for parcels in each county, and presents
photographs of the area.
EPA's StoryMap link: https://www.epa.gov/2021CAfireresponse
DTSC also has an online tool showing the progress of cleanup for all the counties where DTSC is working. That dashboard can be found here.