Recovery

California Debris Cleanup for November Wildfires May Cost the State $3 Billion

The cost, which is speculative at this point, is more than twice the $1.3 billion it cost to clean up the destruction from the Wine Country fires in October 2017. The funding will come from a combination of federal, state and local governments.

by Ashley McBride, San Francisco Chronicle / December 12, 2018
A sign stands at a community destroyed by the Camp fire, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, in Paradise, Calif. AP/John Locher

(TNS) - Debris cleanup for last month’s wildfires in Butte, Ventura and Los Angeles counties could cost at least $3 billion, officials said Tuesday.

Mark Ghilarducci, director of the state’s Office of Emergency Services, said he expects debris removal to begin next month once crews finish cleaning up hazardous materials at the sites.

The cost, which Ghilarducci said is speculative at this point, is more than twice the $1.3 billion it cost to clean up the destruction from the Wine Country fires in October 2017. The funding will come from a combination of federal, state and local governments.

In a change from last year’s effort, the state will manage contracts and hiring for debris removal, rather than the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Ghilarducci expects the debris removal to take a year.

The Camp Fire, which broke out Nov. 8, is California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire. It killed 86 people and destroyed nearly 19,000 structures, including almost 14,000 homes.

Ashley McBride is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: ashley.mcbride@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @ashleynmcb

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