Rapid recovery will help displaced families return home
California's Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) has awarded Arcadis a contract to be the primary consultant for wildfire debris and hazard tree removal in Southern California, following the state’s devastating wildfire season.
The total contract is valued at $52.4 million and encompasses an estimated 823 properties and 120,000 hazard trees in Los Angeles, Fresno, Madera and Tulare counties. A team of approximately 200 biologists, archaeologists, geologists, industrial hygienists, arborists and foresters will work together to manage the region’s safe restoration and improve wildfire resilience.
Debris and hazard tree removal requires a complex understanding of fire’s structural, ecological and chemical impacts. In California, most structural damage occurs in residential areas. Homes are filled with wiring, electronic equipment and appliances that typically contain heavy metals that, when burned at high temperatures, become hazardous ash. Arcadis will assess soil for toxins and evaluate air quality for asbestos and heavy metals to ensure cleanup operations can be performed safely.
“Catastrophic wildfires have devastated tens of thousands of Californians,” said James Eisert, account lead and program manager at Arcadis. “Removing fire-related ash, debris, metals-affected soil and hazard trees in a coordinated and expedited manner is critical to protecting human and environmental health, and ultimately getting people back into their homes.”
Approximately 4.2 million acres burned in California in 2020, displacing more than 53,000 people. In response, the California Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) tasked CalRecycle with overseeing structural debris and hazard tree removal projects in participating counties. Arcadis will perform the work with CalRecycle in compliance with CalOES and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirements.
“Wildfires demolish communities,” said Kathleen Abbott, president of Arcadis’ environment business line in the U.S. “This year in particular, when people need their homes more than ever to limit their exposure to COVID-19, rapid recovery is essential. Arcadis is working tirelessly, in full alignment with CalRecycle and CalOES, to make these residential areas habitable once again.”
Arcadis has been performing hazard tree removal management for the 2018 Camp Fire since July and has supported clean-up for the Woolsey-Hill, Klamathon and Wind Complex wildfires.