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Fire Recovery & Resources


Fire Recovery & Resources

On September 9th, 2020 San Mateo County Health Officer Scott Morrow declared a health emergency due to the public health threat of hazardous waste from wildfires. The Health Order prohibits the unsafe removal, transport, and disposal of fire debris to ensure safety of residents and the environment.

As the Phase I US EPA removal of household hazardous waste nears completion, the County is now entering Phase II of debris removal.
Phase II debris removal information and forms


Protecting Public Health from Fire Ash
Health Orders

10/9/2020 – All persons accessing burned structures should be aware of the potential hazards associated with those sites. Cleanup efforts at these sites may expose you to ash, soot, and fire decomposition products that can cause health effects including, but not limited to, eye/skin/respiratory irritation.

Read the order: English Spanish


Returning Home After a Wildfire
Returning Home

Many hazards are present after a wildfire. Follow these safety precautions to protect your health and ensure financial eligibility for cleanup assistance.

  • Returning Home After a Wildfire: English | Español
  • Wells: English
  • Septic TanksEnglish 
  • Do not move or remove ash, debris, or household hazardous waste.
  • Moving onto property prior to debris removal will likely render you ineligible for State or Federal cleanup assistance.
  • Contact Environmental Health Services for more information at (650) 372-6200 or
  • Landslides, Flooding, and Debris Flow Risks: A warning plan to alert residents of potential landslides is being established by the County’s Emergency Operations Center. CalFire’s Watershed Emergency Response Team (WERT) prepared a report identifying risks here.

Phase I: Household Hazardous Waste Removal
Waste Removal

Phase I is the emergency removal of small quantities of household hazardous waste (HHW) from residences. If you have large quantities of HHW, or if you have HHW but do not have a residential property, contact Environmental Health Services for further direction. 


Phase II: Removal of Ash and Debris
Waste Removal

To ensure safety of workers, the public, and the environment, property owners must follow certain protocols after a wildfire disaster when removing structural ash and debris. There are two ways to manage the debris and ash resulting from the wildfire disaster.