Fire Debris Removal
Fire debris removal is broken down into two phases:
Phase 1: Hazardous Materials Removal is the removal of hazardous materials that may impact human health, animals and the environment through exposure. In coordination with the County of Maui and the State of Hawai‘i, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has assigned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to survey, remove and dispose of hazardous material from all properties impacted by the wildfires in Lahaina, Kula and Olinda.
Hazardous materials could include compressed gas cylinders, pesticides, paints, oils, fertilizers, ammunition and batteries (including lithium-ion batteries, particularly household solar battery storage systems). These items can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal.
Phase 2: Fire Debris Removal is the removal of the remaining structural ash and debris and may include soil testing. The County of Maui, State of Hawai‘i, FEMA and local officials will coordinate with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to offer a Consolidated Debris Removal Program. The program will allow the Corps to conduct the safe removal and handling of fire-damaged debris from destroyed properties.
A private fire debris removal process will be established for those who want to opt out of the Consolidated Debris Removal Program. The County is currently working to develop the process, guidance documents and forms for private contractor fire debris removal and will have the information published soon.
Yes, fire-impacted properties with eligible debris are required to complete both Phase 1 and 2 of the program.
For Phase 1, all properties are required to have hazardous materials and waste removed. These items can be hazardous and require special handling and disposal. The EPA will complete this process for all fire-impacted properties. Phase 1 of the Program is being conducted at no cost to property owners.
Phase 2 debris removal by the Corps is optional; however, properties that opt out of this option are still required to provide for the timely removal of hazardous debris fields, and deadlines will be set by the County. Removal by a private contractor is authorized but must be done at the homeowner’s expense, and work done must meet or exceed the standards set by local, state and federal agencies. This includes compliance with all legal requirements for handling, disposal at authorized disposal sites, soil sampling and transportation. In addition, best management practices must be utilized along with work activity documentation and erosion control.
Agreements are still being finalized, however it is expected that Phase 2 will include debris and ash removal related to any structures on residential properties that are at least 120 square feet. Driveways will be retained as much as possible, both for possible reuse and also to serve as a staging area for debris removal and rebuilding equipment. In many cases, concrete driveways have been weakened as a result of the heat from the fire and may crack easily during this phase.
Phase 1 is currently underway; EPA will post a sign on each property when hazardous waste removal is complete, and will also notify the broader community when hazardous materials removal is completed in an entire neighborhood. View EPA’s online resource tool, which provides information on their process, progress and completion status: bit.ly/EPAprogress
Once a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form is signed for Phase 2, Army Corps employees will contact homeowners that are enrolled in the Consolidated Debris Removal Program via phone 24-48 hours in advance to provide notice of work start times. The Corps’ contractor is required to provide the Corps a formal report of completion. The Corps will provide those reports to the county, and the county will notify homeowners. A Phase 2 map, showing progress, will be published once work gets underway.
If you had insurance in effect at the time of the wildfire that provides coverage for debris removal, it is required that those funds, if not used for rebuilding, go toward reimbursement of Program costs. In most cases, the cost of debris removal will be greater than the insurance available. Reimbursement amount will not exceed the costs of debris removal on your specific property. If coverage for debris removal is not a separate insurance category, any reimbursement for debris removal will be limited to the unused benefit amount (if any) in that coverage category after the residence is rebuilt. If the full amount of general coverage is used for rebuilding, you will not be responsible for any reimbursement.
If you participate in Phase 2 of the program, we recommend that you consult with your insurance carrier to confirm how much is dedicated to debris removal. If your site will require private debris removal in addition to what is covered under Phase 2 of the Consolidated Debris Removal Program, you can use your debris insurance proceeds to cover those costs, and will only be expected to provide the remainder (if any) to reimburse the Program. If you do not have insurance the Program will be provided at no cost.
Over 300+ resources for those who are looking for support and wanting to provide support to Maui residents & businesses.
Sign up for Updates from Maui Recovers
Get the latest Wildfire updates that directly assist those who have been affected by the Maui Wildfires.