☑ Weekly Update - Feb. 26, 2021


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General Operation Updates


As we approach the two-month mark, progress continues to move forward early in the overall process of the debris and hazard tree removal effort.


During Step 1, the Debris Management Task Force (DMTF) crews removed hazardous materials from home sites between October to December 2020. The transition from Step 1 to Step 2 occurred in December 2020 as we received additional Right-of-Entry forms, finalized work contracts, planned for and navigated adverse weather conditions, and organized crew staging areas during the holidays. Step 2 operations fully ramped up last month, and we are now nearly two months into the 18-month process.


We are committed to helping communities recover and rebuild as efficiently and safely as possible.


Understandably, property owners are calling for increased urgency and for crews to move as quickly as possible. We respect and empathize with how difficult the time investment must be for fire-impacted communities as we balance aspects of recovery including safety, weather, and the specific and unique needs of individual communities. We continue to coordinate and work diligently as part of meeting the original six to 18-month timeline by working in earnest to find ways to deliver efficiently for Oregon and the state’s residents who have been profoundly affected. Our partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) direct housing effort is just one example of our dedication to help Oregonians get back on their feet as quickly as possible.


To ensure we can leave property owners with a site ready to safely rebuild, and comply with state and federal laws, a series of steps must be completed to prepare a site for debris removal.


With Step 1 completed last December, and once Right-of-Entry forms, property questionnaires, and local permits and approvals were received, Step 2 work will begin. As a sequence, this starts with required environmental (asbestos) testing and property planning based on the information shared with the DMTF. Once verified, chimney tipping begins, address signs are placed, crews are quickly mobilized, and hazard trees are marked, removed and stacked away from the area to ensure the safety of crews and communities. After this is complete, ash and debris cleanup begins, including hauling debris to landfill and recycling facilities. Soil testing for wildfire contaminants is the final step, then the site is approved for rebuilding.

By the Numbers


We estimate it will take between 6-18 months to complete work on all properties. In total, this work will require marking and cutting nearly 290,000 hazard trees and removing ash and debris from approximately 1,600 participating properties.

  • Below is a summary of the work that has been completed thus far:



Northern Operations


As hazard tree removal work continues to progress, ash and debris removal continues to ramp-up and work orders are being issued for debris removal throughout the northern Oregon operation.

  • Holiday Farm Fire area (Lane County, McKenzie River area, Highway 126): Hazard tree removal work continues to increase, along with debris removal and chimney tipping on select sites in the area, leading to some traffic delays. In total, an estimated 70,000 hazard trees will be removed from the corridor. Conversations continue with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) about moving hazard tree logs and logistics on USFS land. Note: Hazard tree work underway in a former spotted owl nesting area is being expedited to avoid nesting season, although we don’t expect spotted owls in the area because their habitats were burned by the fires.

  • Echo Mountain Fire area (Lincoln County, Lincoln City area, Highway 18 and adjacent area): Crews work through wet weather challenges as hazard tree removal work on impacted properties continues, as well as ash and debris removal on select properties. Ongoing asbestos testing, site-preparation work and property owner coordination is underway in preparation for upcoming work orders for ash and debris removal. Lincoln County leads efforts on sending direct mail and updates to property owners related to this work.

  • Riverside Fire area (Estacada area, Clackamas County, Highways 224 and 211): Crews continue moving and “chipping” branches and woody debris while hazard tree marking continues in state right-of-way areas. Ash and debris removal operations continue, including environmental and asbestos testing, placing address signs and coordinating with property owners. Note: Hazard tree work underway in a former spotted owl nesting area is being expedited to avoid nesting season, although spotted owls are not expected in the area due to burning of previous habitat. Highway 224 remains closed east and southeast of Estacada along the Clackamas River.

  • Beachie Creek/Lionshead Fire areas (Santiam River corridor, primarily in Marion and Linn counties, Highway 22 and adjacent area): Snow in the Detroit Lake area requires pauses in work. Ash and debris removal is in the early stages and hazard trees continue to be marked on impacted properties and the surrounding area. Chimney-tipping work continues on impacted properties. We are working through approvals and permitting with the local community.



Southern Operations

  • Almeda Drive Fire area (Medford/Talent/Phoenix, Jackson County, Highway 99 and Interstate 5): Cleanup at more than 440 lots is moving forward in some form. Work on 210 lots in Phoenix at the Bear Lake Estates mobile home park is almost complete. Work continues on asbestos testing and removal to allow for FEMA direct housing at the Talent Mobile Estates mobile home park (91 lots). Simultaneously, work continues at the Mountain View Estates mobile home park (143 lots) in Talent. Additional asbestos testing and debris work is kicking off at two other mobile home parks in partnership with the FEMA direct housing effort. Air quality monitoring continues for the safety of those remaining in the area and asbestos testing is moving forward efficiently.

  • Archie Creek Fire area (Douglas County, Highway 138): Hazard tree removal work east of Roseburg continues with tree marking and cutting underway between mileposts 28-29 on Highway 138. Debris removal work starts this weekend on five home sites identified as priorities by Douglas County partners.

  • Thielsen Fire area (eastern Douglas County, Highway 138): Due to higher elevation snow, operations will increase later in the spring with a focus on hazard tree removal as warmer weather arrives. Contractor coordination and planning work continues.

  • 242 Fire area (Klamath County, Highways 62 and 97): Hazard tree marking starting and debris site preparation and planning continues as staff work with tribal partners to mark trees without paint, respecting tribal customs and requests. Planning work and coordination with Klamath County continues. In addition, we continue to plan for cultural resources and archaeological and environmental constraints in the area.



Topics of the Week

Wildfire Recovery Public Hearings


The Oregon House of Representatives’ Special Committee on Wildfire Recovery hosted two public hearings this week to get valuable input from members of the community. The first was held Monday, February 22nd for wildfire survivors from northern Oregon, with the second taking place Wednesday, February 24th with local elected officials from all impacted fire areas.

Protecting Oregon’s Natural and Cultural Resources


Oregon is a biologically diverse state, rich in both environmental and cultural resources, and we’re doing our part to preserve these valuable assets. The DMTF is hard at work protecting areas impacted by wildfires, including keeping ash and debris out of watersheds to preserve our water quality. Archaeological artifacts, sacred tribal items and burial areas are being protected to the fullest extent possible during cleanup and recovery.

Air Quality Monitoring Report | Feb. 15 - Feb. 20


Local environmental health is one of our top priorities. In addition to efficient and required asbestos testing for all debris removal home sites, state contractors are visually monitoring and controlling dust to protect air quality during ash and debris cleanup work. If dust issues occur, our crews will stop work and fix the issue before resuming to protect public health.


Each week, contractors report their visual monitoring results, and the labs report their sample test results for active work areas. Recent results include:


Almeda Fire

  • Number of properties that had air sampling: 4

  • Number of air samples collected: 12

  • Results above action level: 0

  • Visual monitoring: no recorded dust levels that exceeded action levels


Echo Mountain Fire

  • Number of properties that had air sampling: 1

  • Number of air samples collected: 3

  • Results above action level: 0

  • Visual monitoring: no recorded dust levels that exceeded action levels


***


The “action level” is the threshold for action at a site, or from a lab test result. Learn more about action levels, how we control dust and test air samples in our air quality monitoring FAQ.


For specific air quality monitoring data, email Matt Noble, Public Affairs Specialist for the Debris Management Task Force, at matt.a.noble@odot.state.or.us.

If you have questions about hazard tree removal in your community, our hotline can help point you in the right direction. Please access information from your local county government first, and then call our hotline at 503-934-1700 if you need more information.

Free wildfire waste and debris removal

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to remove hazardous waste, and ash and debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires safely, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are leading the effort, with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assistance.

About the Debris Management Task Force
and debris cleanup process

Wildfire cleanup is a two-step process

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to safely and efficiently remove hazard trees and debris resulting from the wildfires that devastated Oregon in late summer 2020. The Oregon Departments of Transportation, Environmental Quality and Emergency Management are jointly leading this effort as the Debris Management Task Force.

For general questions, contact the debris cleanup hotline at 503-934-1700 or email: odot.wildfire@odot.state.or.us.

For questions about contracting opportunities, contact Feather Sams Huesties at feather.sams-huesties@odot.state.or.us.


wildfire.oregon.gov

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