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FEMA Public Assistance for Wildfire Crisis - Debris Removal Guidance and Debris Removal Private Property

This week, at the Governor’s request, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) began the process with FEMA to add Federal Public Assistance grant funds for all special districts dealing with the current wildfire crisis. Costs to remove incident-related debris (including, but not limited to, vegetative debris, components of structures, sand, mud, silt, gravel, rocks, boulders, vehicles, and vessels) from improved public property and public rights-of-way (ROWs), including federal-aid roads, are reimbursable. For private property debris removal (PPDR) eligibility, the special district must demonstrate (see attached FEMA PA Private Property Debris Removal):

  1. Legal Authority
    -Certifies that is has legal authority and responsibility to remove debris from private property, 
    -Cites all applicable sources of authority (law, ordinance, code, contract, etc.) and 
    -Agrees to indemnify the United States of any claim arising from debris removal. 
  2. Public Interest – Applicant must demonstrate the PPDR was in public interest (public health authority or other public entity that has legal authority to make a determination that disaster-generated debris on private property constitutes an immediate threat to life, public health or safety, or to the economic recovery of the community at large). 

If your special district chooses to assist with PPDR, please contact your general counsel for hold harmless agreements. FEMA has included two examples of these documents and is regularly updating a variety of documents related to this topic. SDAO will place links to these documents on our wildfire resource page to assist you. Please remember that applicants may not duplicate benefits with insurance and must comply with environmental, historic preservation, and floodplain management laws as part of the eligibility conditions. As with all FEMA financial aid, documentation of your costs is imperative.  Special districts need to document the following information to support debris removal claims:

  • Quantity and type of debris: 
    - Hauled to a temporary staging site 
    - Reduced, including reduction method (e.g., chipped, burned) 
    - Hauled to a final disposal site 
    - Recycled 
  • Pick-up locations 
  • Disposal locations (temporary staging, recycling, and final disposal) 
  • Owned (“Force Account”) equipment: 
    - Type of equipment and attachments used
    - Year, make, model, size/capacity 
    - Days and hours used 
    - Operator name 
  • Contracted equipment Certifications of truck size/capacity 
  • Labor: 
    - Name 
    - Days and hours worked 
    - Work performed 

Additional Resources:

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Slevin and Daniel Gwin:

Julie Slevin 
State Public Assistance Officer 
Oregon Office of Emergency Management 

Daniel Gwin 
Deputy State Public Assistance Officer
Oregon Military Department, Office of Emergency Management