The Latest: California prepares to clean up wildfire waste
Oct. 24, 2017
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California wildfires (all times local):
Government agencies are mobilizing for a massive hazardous waste clean-up after California's wildfires.
Officials gave their first briefing to the public Monday on what they say will be the largest fire clean-up effort in state history.
More than 8,000 homes have burned in dozens of wildfires in Northern California. Authorities have declared a public health emergency because of the presence of household hazardous waste like freon or asbestos.
Joyce Farinato wore gardening gloves and a mask as she searched through the chunks of concrete and bent metal where her home used to stand in rural Sonoma County. She says she'd like some guidance on what is hazardous.
California Office of Emergency Services official Eric Lamoureux says the goal is to have all burned sites inspected and cleaned by early 2018.
California authorities say firefighters made significant progress over the weekend combatting wildfires that devastated the state's famed wine country and nearby areas, killing 42 people and destroying 8,400 buildings.
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Daniel Berlant said Monday that several days of rainfall helped the firefighters and that authorities are confident most of the wildfires will be contained this week.
He says the largest fires are more than 90 percent contained.
Officials are almost finished with their assessment of property damage. Berlant says their count of buildings destroyed may rise slightly.
The fires started Oct. 8 and 9 and spread mostly in Sonoma and Napa counties north of San Francisco.
They were the deadliest and most destructive in California's history.