Jackson Co. moves to ‘step 2’ of Almeda Fire cleanup

Aerial view of an area just north of Almeda Drive where the fire is believed to have started.

MEDFORD, Ore. — Step 2 of the Almeda Fire clean-up process has officially begun.

That’s the latest from Jackson County’s Emergency Operations Center.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Jackson County announced out of the 4,515 valid registrations, FEMA has provided grants totaling over 19 million dollars.

We’re told the EPA has cleaned up 671 individual properties, that includes the majority of mobile home parks.

Jackson Co. Roads and Parks Director John Vial says the hazardous waste cleanup was completed at no cost to property owners or local governments.

He says the next step is ash and debris removal.

An ‘Oregon debris management task force’ has been appointed by Governor Kate Brown.

The EOC says many elements the county needs cleaned up, such as commercial properties or mobile home parks, burned vehicles, trees, damaged foundations, are normally not eligible to be reimbursed by FEMA.

But the county, through the board of commissioners, has petitioned to the state to request to FEMA to cover these costs.

The state has not received an answer from FEMA yet, but made the decision to include all the requested items at no additional cost to local governments or private property owners.

Vial says that’s a huge win for Jackson County and its citizens.

“Bottom line is what is being proposed now and what will be completed now under the state’s cleanup is a comprehensive clean up of the burn scar. This is fantastic we were very concerned for quite some time that we’d have a bunch of pockets that were not cleaned up,” said Vial.

Like step 1, he says step 2 is at no cost to property owners or local government.

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