Fires began burning on October 8, 2017, in multiple counties of Northern California. EPA is providing support to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and state and local partners in the ongoing joint response to the fires.

Mendocino and Lake counties

In mid-November, FEMA asked EPA to conduct asbestos removal for impacted parcels in Lake and Mendocino counties. EPA began work on November 27 and is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to identify and remove parcels with asbestos-containing materials. Please consult this fact sheet for information on asbestos and ways to prevent exposure.

Napa and Sonoma counties

EPA has led the survey, collection and disposal of household hazardous waste (HHW) at nearly 7,000 residential and commercial parcels affected by the fires in Sonoma and Napa counties. This work clears the way for proper removal of ash and debris, allowing the rebuilding process to begin. EPA is also removing asbestos from burned properties, and collecting and disposing of hazardous drums and containers.

HHW includes leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic. Products such as paints, cleaners, solvents, oils, batteries, herbicides and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal.

These efforts will reduce potential threats to public health and safety and allow safe removal of solid waste, debris and ash in the fire-affected areas. EPA will coordinate with cities and counties to keep communities informed about the status of the Agency's HHW collection activities.

As of late November, EPA had completed removal of HHW at more than 98% of fire-affected parcels in Napa and Sonoma counties.