Historic state funding to help Weed

Deborra Brannon
The California Governor's Office of emergency Services regional administrator Eric Lamoureux, seated at table far left, met with CAL FIRE, Siskiyou County, and Weed City officials to discuss state support for the Boles Fire relief efforts.

The devastated City of Weed got good news yesterday from the state: two major areas of recovery effort from the Boles Fire will be reimbursed at an “unprecedented” 100 percent.

That means that property owners may sign up for CALRecycle to remove the debris left by the fire at no cost to themselves or the city. And the state will pay for temporary housing erected to fill the gap for people displaced by the fire.

“We saw the need to do whatever we could to help the Weed community,” regional administrator for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services Eric Lamoureux said.

Usually just 75 percent of state funding for disaster recovery is reimbursed to local agencies. He said this is the first time in California history that a community will receive 100 percent reimbursement for debris removal and emergency sheltering.

“We’re very appreciative of this support because we’re a small community with limited resources,” Weed City Manager Ron Stock said.

“Recovery would have been extremely difficult without this level of support from the state of California,” he said.

Siskiyou County District 3 Supervisor Michael Kobseff called the state offer “unprecedented.”

“This situation is overwhelming for the City of Weed and for the families who’ve lost everything in the fire. The state’s debris removal support alone will be a huge factor in setting the stage for recovery for the community and its residents,” he said.

Lamoureux said the governor’s office felt this is “the fastest, safest way we can get folks their sites back so they can begin rebuilding.”

Debris removal

Stock said CAL Recycling will be doing the debris clean up, and they are “very experienced at this.”

“Property owners who authorize the state to do the debris removal will incur no costs for the work, and the state will give them a certificate stating that the site is clean of hazardous materials,” he said.

In addition, the certificate will allow property owners to rebuild immediately, and future owners of the site will be able to rely on the certification.

The state will begin debris removal on Monday, Sept. 29. Stock said if every property owner signs up for the program, all debris from the fire stricken areas should be cleared within about three weeks.

He urged property owners to not only sign up for the debris removal program but to urge their neighbors to do the same.

“CALRecycle will not be moving from site to site in a checkerboard pattern. They’re going to begin with the largest grouping of properties they’re authorized to clear,” Stock said.

Kobseff explained that insured property owners may sign up for the debris removal program; insurance coverage for that work will go back to the state to offset costs. And, he stressed, the debris removal program is available to everyone – even those with no or with inadequate insurance.

Stock cautioned that line item debris removal amounts covered by insurance policies may not cover the costs actually incurred by property owners who choose to clear their own property. He urged everyone affected to take advantage of the state offer.

Emergency sheltering

Lamoureux said the state “doesn’t yet have a good assessment of what the need will be,” but it will also reimburse 100 percent of the cost to the city of setting up emergency housing as a

“temporary solution until folks can rebuild or find another home.”