French Fire state of local emergency extended for debris removal

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — According to state estimates, around 30 structures were deemed lost to the French Fire.

Lurking in the ash and rubble of those buildings are particles that could taint our land and waterways, posing a threat to public health.

“A lot of structures, especially if they predate 1970, can contain lead, can contain asbestos,” Kern County Public Health assistant director Amy Rutledge said. “Once that structure is damaged, as it would be during a wildfire, you can have those particles spread.”

KCPH and state officials have teamed up to organize a Debris Removal Program, aimed at safely cleaning up these burn sites. Assistance comes at no cost to those who lost qualifying structures.

To use the program, landowners must submit a form allowing fire officials to perform clean-up. That form must be turned in by January 15.

KCPH submitted a resolution, now approve, to the Kern County Board of Supervisors requesting the French Fire state of emergency be extended through the month of January. That state of emergency is what allows Kern County to request those clean-up resources from the state.

Officials say if all goes according to plan, clean-up could be completed in a couple of months.

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