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Phase 1 of fire debris cleanup begins in Santa Cruz County

santa cruz county
Santa Cruz County

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION) UPDATED 9/28/20: Phase 1 of debris cleanup for Santa Cruz County residents affected by the CZU Lightning Complex starts this week.

Crews with the Environmental Protection Agency will remove hazardous materials at no cost to property owners.

The process is expected to take a month or longer, and they will be removing items such as paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, herbicides, pesticides and pressurized fuel cylinders. Weapons, ammunition or other potentially dangerous items will be handed over to the Sheriff's Office for processing.

“The challenge in this scenario is there’s a lot of spread out damage across the mountain getting to it is going to be challenging. Getting some of the hazards out like the compressed gas cylinders [will] require additional equipment and man power,” EPA incident commander Steve Calanog said.

The EPA warns that crews will wear white protective clothing and will be clearly identified as team members. They will not approach residents for special access or solicit goods or services.

Because there will be many team members along with their equipment and vehicles, the EPA warns that there may be traffic delays as well.

When cleanup is finished at a property, owners will be eligible to move into Phase II of debris cleanup. Property owners can choose a public option or use private debris removal, but both require approval from the Santa Cruz County Environmental Health Division.

The EPA said it will post a debris removal status map on the County's Fire Recovery page. Finished properties will have a white USEPA placard and be noted on the status map.

The EPA will remove hazardous debris in fire affected Monterey County, starting next week.

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Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.


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