Trucks with debris

Trucks with debris removed from the Camp Fire in Paradise drive through Marysville in May.

The Yuba-Sutter area’s roadways should seem much less congested as of late –  the Camp Fire debris removal operations are ramping down as the process nears completion.

The cleanup, which is being overseen by CalRecycle, is about 99 percent completed and expected to finish up in the coming weeks.

“CalRecycle is incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made together with wildfire survivors, these communities, and our state, local and federal partners,” said Lance Klug, a spokesperson for CalRecycle. “To date, crews have cleared more than 3.6 million tons of debris from nearly 11,000 properties that are participating in California’s debris removal program.” 

The process has been ongoing since February following the most destructive wildfire in state history, which occurred Nov. 8, 2018. It has posed a variety of issues for local motorists and law enforcement due to truck traffic clogging up the area’s transportation arteries on their way to the Recology Yuba-Sutter Ostrom Road Landfill, which is one of two primary landfills in the north state accepting ash, debris, and contaminated soil.

At the peak of operations, 154 crews of three to five people each were up in Butte County helping with the debris removal. That number has been significantly reduced, now down to only 30 crews, Klug said. Each crew, on average, fills 10-20 truckloads of material per day.

Initially, the expectation was that debris removal would take until early 2020, but crews are significantly ahead of schedule. As of Oct. 1, there were 94 parcels that still needed to have the debris removed. 

“We expect to complete debris removal in the coming weeks, although final soil sampling, erosion control installation and final inspections will take a bit more time to complete,” Klug said. “Upon final inspections, a notice will be sent to the county making these properties eligible for building permits.” 

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