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PARADISE November 19, 2019 – On the heels of the one-year anniversary of the Camp Fire, the most deadly wildfire in state history, the  Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) today announced completion of structural debris removal operation on nearly 11,000 properties in Butte County just nine months’ time.

The project was the largest of its type in state history and was jointly managed by Cal OES and crews from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) who removed more than 3.66 million tons – or 7.3 billion pounds – of ash, debris, metal, concrete and contaminated soil as part of California’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program.

“This is a story of resilience, and I am inspired by the people of Paradise’s grit and their resolve to move forward after last year’s devastating fire,” said Governor Gavin Newsom. “Our state continues to stand with the communities and all families that were impacted.”

The debris removal operation was part of a wider effort by Governor Newsom to help communities impacted by destructive wildfires rebuild and recover.

Today’s announcement marks and important milestone in helping Butte County rebuild and recover. The hard work of local, state and federal agencies following this catastrophic event and the unprecedented speed of this operation is a testament to the resolve and resiliency of Californians,” said Mark Ghilarducci, Director of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

The total tonnage removed from the Camp Fire is equivalent to in size to four Golden Gate Bridges, or 10 Empire State Buildings, or 595 of the world’s largest giant sequoia trees.

The debris removal program, implemented in coordination with local governments, offered survivors a streamlined option to clear their properties at no out-of-pocket cost. The state, along with local and federal partners, has assisted with multiple aspects of the recovery process including:

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  • establishing temporary short-term housing solutions for nearly 700 households displaced by the fire;
  • facilitating technical and grant expertise for the Paradise Irrigation District to help restore Paradise’s water system;
  • supporting public assistance projects to restore public infrastructure;
  • providing support and coordination for emotional and behavioral needs of children and their families; facilitating behavioral health implementation plan activities across the County, to name a few.
Governor Newsom also approved Rural Designation for Paradise and other surrounding parts of Butte County – making the areas eligible for additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program funds, totaling over $500 million.

Following the Camp Fire, California is the first state nationally to establish the Interagency Recovery Coordination functions – a federal model – to directly assist Town and County officials with long-term recovery needs and initiatives.

To learn more about Cal OES’s efforts to support wildfire survivors and addressed the most critical needs of the community go to: OESNews.com