(KPIX 5) — The cleanup of areas ravaged by the North Bay wildfires is going to take much longer than some may think, due to a number of hazardous conditions crews are facing.
Federal and state crews are looking for hazardous waste within the fire zone. They are first getting rid of obvious threats such as propane and gas tanks, asbestos and pesticides.
But the process to give a site the all-clear is going to take a lot longer.
Each of the burn sites will take about two days to physically clear debris, Then two days to conduct tests on a site to make sure it’s free of contaminants.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking for any contaminant that wasn’t there before a home was built. It’ll take about one week to get those results back.
After a site passes testing, crews will conduct some erosion-control measures.
Then, finally, they’ll sign off on cleared lots. The minimum time for clearing a parcel from start to finish: 30 days.
Debris removal should start within ten days, and you can expect heavy traffic in and around the burn zones.
A typical crew is five to seven people per site, which means thousands will be working this cleanup in Napa and Sonoma counties.