Deadline nears for 2020 fire cleanup
Owners of properties damaged in the Labor Day 2020 fires who have yet to enroll in the state’s no-cost cleanup program have less than two weeks to do so, or tey’ll have to foot their own bill.
Sept. 15 is the deadline to enroll in stat- run debris cleanup programs for properties damaged in the September 2020 wildfires, which included the Almeda and South Obenchain fires in Jackson County, according to a news release issued this week from Oregon Office of Emergency Management and the Debris Management Task Force.
Any property owner who has not yet enrolled should call the debris cleanup hotline at 503-934-1700 or see debriscleanupnews.com. Enrollments won’t be accepted past Sept. 15.
The state program that draws from federal aid has cleared ash, debris and hazardous trees from more than 2,500 residential and commercial properties since the fires that ravaged thousands of homes Sept. 8 of last year in Jackson, Douglas, Lake, Lane, Marion, Linn, Lincoln and Clackamas counties.
As of late last week, crews had finished debris removal in the Almeda fire zone in Phoenix, Talent and areas south of Medford, and the South Obenchain fire outside Eagle Point, and are now “awaiting final closeout tasks,” according to a weekly task force update issued Friday.
Almeda fire property owners will soon receive completion letters authorizing the properties to be built upon, the task force states. Officials are waiting upon last remaining test results and any last remaining “necessary hazard tree work.”
The South Obenchain fire is focused on any “remaining hazard trees on private properties awaiting work orders as part of the final close-out process,” according to the update.
More work remains for cleanup efforts in other parts of the state.
Only about 37% of hazard trees have been removed from the Archie Creek fire that burned last year in Douglas County, according to the task force. Crews are conducting helicopter tree work in the area, and crews are working to remove dead or dying trees before winter weather makes access difficult.
Of the 17 properties impacted in the Two Four Two fire near Chiloquin, only about 30% of debris removal has been completed in part because of current wildfire conditions. Only about 42% of hazard trees have been removed.
In northern Oregon, debris removal is 51% complete at the Beachie Creek and Lionshead fire areas in Marion and Linn counties, and 51% of hazard trees have been removed.
From the Echo Mountain fire near Lincoln City, about 90% of the debris and 59% of hazard trees have been removed. The bulk of what’s left to remove in the fire zone are household hazardous materials and hazard trees on home sites.