(CPR file photo/Ben Adler)
Placer County is giving owners of properties damaged by this summer’s 49 Fire outside Auburn until late next week to clear up all the debris. Otherwise, the county will take over – and that could cost the property owners.
It’s not just because it looks bad that debris has to get cleared up pretty quickly after a fire. Placer County Environmental Health Director Jill Pahl says it’s a health risk, too.
Pahl: “There were metals in there, there potentially some hazardous materials – cleaners, paints, things like that. So everything directly in the footprint of the structure fire and the ash and debris.”
And with the rainy season quickly approaching, the county has set an October 15th deadline to get everything cleared up. On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors gave the county the authority to send its own contractor to clean up any properties that don’t meet the deadline. Right now, Pahl says 52 of the 66 properties damaged by the fire are cleaned up. And she thinks only one or two might miss the deadline.
Pahl: “There were a few sites that hadn’t started work. And we talked to those owners. And they either had just gotten their insurance check or had just signed with a contractor. So I think the majority of remaining sites that haven’t started any cleanup are gonna be starting very soon.”
There’s no penalty for missing the deadline, but it can often be more expensive for the county to deal with the cleanup instead of an individual property owner working with an insurance company. Also, the county would collect the owner’s insurance payment for doing that work -- and pass any extra cost on to the owner.