Wildfires

Get assistance with cleanup

The State of Oregon is working with federal, state and local partners to safely address ash and debris from the 2020 Oregon wildfires. Removing fire debris is a two-step cleanup process.

  • Step 1 is clearing properties of household hazardous waste to minimize exposure of hazardous materials to the public.
  • Step 2 is removal of ash, debris and burned-out structures.

Find more information about the state-led cleanup process at wildfire.oregon.gov/cleanup

If you choose to do cleanup yourself

If you choose to clean up hazardous materials yourself, it will be at your own cost. Removal of household hazardous waste and debris can be an incredibly expensive process, costing as much as $75,000. Even with insurance, a majority of this cost may not be covered. The state and federal government is committed to paying for removal of household hazardous waste from 2020 wildfires, which means that property owners can reserve their insurance funds for other recovery efforts.

DEQ strongly urges property owners not to remove hazardous materials and debris themselves because of the potential risks to health and safety. If you do choose to take on ash and debris cleanup yourself, DEQ strongly recommends that you hire a DEQ licensed asbestos abatement contractor to do the work, to protect you and your family from the risk of exposure to asbestos.

The Environmental Quality Commission approved a variance from certain asbestos requirements in the context of wildfire cleanup. Some aspects of this variance apply to cleanup by a DEQ licensed contractor, and others apply to residential property owners doing their own cleanup. See the DEQ wildfire temporary rules suspension webpage for more information.

Please do the following when cleaning up fire debris:

  • Contact your insurance provider before you begin cleanup to learn of requirements they may have for reimbursement.

  • Contact your county or city code enforcement agency to determine their cleanup requirements for new construction permits.

  • Determine if the ash and debris contain asbestos. Many homes and buildings have materials with asbestos. State rules govern various aspects of managing and removing asbestos. You can hire an accredited inspector to survey your property for asbestos-containing materials, or you can presume that all debris and ash contain asbestos. DEQ strongly recommends hiring a licensed abatement contractor to perform any abatement activities. Asbestos is a known carcinogen and there is no known safe level of exposure. Refer to guidance on DEQ's asbestos webpage or contact DEQ prior to starting any ash or debris cleanup activities.

  • Contact your local waste disposal site to learn what requirements they have for waste acceptance. Many landfills require specific documentation of the waste you drop off so they can handle it properly and comply with regulations. This can include lab results to determine what hazardous materials are in your debris. If you do not have the proper documentation, you may not be allowed to dispose of your debris.

  • Cover ash and debris loads during transport. Additionally, asbestos containing waste materials must be packaged properly for transport and disposal. This means double bagging the material in 6 mil plastic sheeting, and labeling it as asbestos.

  • Recycle metal, concrete and wood debris. Clean recyclable materials with water prior to transport to reduce the spread of asbestos or other contaminants in the ash. Do not discharge water containing ash into the stormwater system or surface waters, as it can cause water quality issues.

  • Follow the safety precautions outlined on DEQ's Safely Managing Ash and Debris From Burned Buildings page.

DEQ can help

Contact DEQ for help if you:

  • Have concerns about asbestos on your property, or if you find evidence of asbestos fibers and want to know more about how to ensure safe disposal.

  • Need advice on how to properly dispose of household hazardous wastes such as bleaches, cleaners, paints or oils.

  • Need assistance with the inspection or replacement of septic systems.

Find more information about managing:

DEQ asbestos and solid waste contacts

OfficePhoneCounties Served
Portland

Asbestos: 503-229-6351 or 800-452-4011
Solid Waste: 503-970-4890

Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Multnomah, Tillamook, Washington
Salem

Asbestos: 503-378-5086 or 800-349-7677
Solid Waste: 541-686-7868

Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Polk, Yamhill
Coos Bay

Asbestos: 541-269-2721, Ext. 222
Solid Waste: 541-776-6148

Coos, Curry, Douglas, Jackson,   Josephine
Bend

Asbestos: 541-633-2019 or 866-863-6668
Solid Waste: 541-298-7255, Ext. 225

Crook, Deschutes, Harney, Hood River, Jefferson, Klamath, Lake, Sherman, Wasco
Pendleton

Asbestos: 541-278-4626 or 800-304-3513
Solid Waste: 541-298-7255, Ext. 225

Baker, Gilliam, Grant, Malheur, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wheeler
Eugene

Asbestos (Lane Regional Air Protection Agency): 541-736-1056
Solid Waste: Craig Filip 541-686-7868

Lane, Lincoln, Linn, or Marion
​Medford​Solid waste: David Esch, 541-776-6148​Douglas, Jackson, and Josephine