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County conducts initial damage assessments 

Permit Sonoma is conducting initial damage assessments on an estimated 59 buildings damaged by the Kincade Fire. Rapid Evaluation Safety Assessment (RESA) allows people to inhabit and use safe homes and businesses, and ensures that people are prohibited from entering unsafe structures. 

RESA inspections occur before home and business owners are allowed to re-enter damaged structures. Damage levels are color-coded, as follows:

Green (Inspected): Buildings may be damaged yet remain safe, and can be inhabited.

Yellow (Restricted Use): There is some risk from damage in all or part of the building but the full extent of damage may be uncertain or cannot be ascertained within the time and resources available to a Rapid Evaluation team. Buildings with yellow tags have limited use, with case-by-case restrictions. For example, certain portions of a home may not be inhabitable until a permit has been issued and repairs are made. 

Red (Unsafe): Buildings are damaged and pose an imminent threat to life or safety, and may not be inhabited.

It’s important to note that even buildings that are tagged “inspected” or “restricted use” may have areas in or around them that are unsafe. 

RESA Inspectors are experienced building construction and engineering professionals who have been certified through the California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). The inspectors will be clearly identifiable and able to present agency credentials upon request.

In addition, assistance is available at Permit Sonoma, 2550 Ventura Avenue, Santa Rosa. The permit center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Wednesdays, when it is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information available at https://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Permit-Sonoma.

For additional information, visit www.socoemergency.org

Hazardous waste cleanup to begin

The County of Sonoma will conduct an initial Household Hazardous Waste sweep on properties impacted by the Kincade Fire to protect the public and the environment. 

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted an emergency ordinance to protect public health, the environment and to facilitate the recovery process for those residents whose properties were either destroyed or damaged by the fire. 

The county is working to enter into an emergency contract to begin removing Household Hazardous Waste from properties impacted by the Kincade Fire at no cost to impacted property owners. 

On Nov. 1, Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Celeste Philip issued an order advising community members to refrain from entering the burn footprint without personal protective equipment, and to not begin cleanup activities until authorized by the Department of Health Services, Environmental Health. Hazardous debris after a wildfire can expose residents to toxic materials, and improper transport and disposal of fire debris can create dangerous health impacts throughout the community. 

The selected contractor will inspect properties and remove any household hazardous waste that may pose a threat to human health, animals and the environment such as batteries, asbestos siding and paints. All commercial, residential and outbuildings impacted by the fire will be included, regardless of size. 

Hazardous household waste clean-up began on Tuesday, Nov. 12 and is expected to take up to three weeks. 

The county is also developing a process for a private debris removal program to help property owners complete debris removal and will provide additional information by the end of this week.

As more information is available on debris removal it will be posted on www.socoemergency.org/recover.

Property clean-up

The County of Sonoma is providing additional information as a two-step process starts to assist property owners in removing hazardous waste and fire debris in properties destroyed by the Kincade Fire. The Kincade Fire destroyed 374 structures, 174 of which are residences, and damaged an additional 60 structures, 34 of which are residences.

The first step in property clean-up is an emergency sweep of all properties, which began on Nov. 12. Following the sweep, property owners can begin step two by hiring a licensed and qualified contractor to remove fire debris.

Property owners can download a Debris Removal Application form at SoCoEmergency.org/Recover and can contact Environmental Health for assistance in completing the form at 707-565-6700 or ehdebrisremoval@sonoma-county.org. Additional information about debris removal requirements and a debris removal completion certification information is also posted on this site.

Air quality

People may continue to experience adverse health effects from poor air quality. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious effects, including children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease.

Contact your health care provider if you have concerns regarding your health condition.

  • Elevated particulate matter in the air can trigger wheezing in those who suffer from asthma, emphysema, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), or other respiratory conditions.
  • Asthmatics should follow their asthma management plan.
  • Keep up to two weeks’ worth of extra medication on hand. Be ready with plans to treat asthma or diabetes when there is smoke.
  • There is no clear evidence that N-95 respirator mask use by members of the general public is beneficial to an individual’s health during wildfire smoke air quality events, and could be harmful. If you have questions about the personal use of N-95 respirator masks, contact your physician.

Online Air Quality Resources

Federal certified monitors at EPA’s AirNow site are the most accurate (but have an update delay of 2-3 hours).

Giving back to first responders

The Dixon family, along with a group of other Town of Windsor residents, felt the first responders who saved the town deserved more than just a thank you or poster. They have setup a trust account with Exchange Bank in Windsor under the name of “Windsor Thanks” and are now collecting donations. The funds will go toward scholarships for Sonoma County firefighters and their families for firefighting training, most likely at the program at the Santa Rosa Junior College. For more information, contact Denise Dixon at 707-695-2244 or denise@miralee.com.

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