18-019 District deploys engineer to assist California wildfire recovery mission

Published Feb. 26, 2018
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District deployed an engineer today in response to a request for assistance with wildfire disaster recovery efforts in Northern California, according to District emergency management officials.

The licensed structural engineer from the District Headquarters’ Structural Design Section volunteered to support a joint inspection team with FEMA and the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services in the Santa Rosa area of Sonoma County. Work will include conducting a joint concrete (foundation, retaining wall, stem wall, etc.) inspections in order to validate what remaining concrete needs to be removed.

The Corps is working in partnership with the local, state, and federal response to the devastating California wildfires in October 2017. Our number one priority continues to be the life, health and safety of all who were affected by the fires.

The Corps received a debris removal mission from FEMA in Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma counties under Emergency Support Function #3. USACE has also been assigned a Watershed Technical Assistance mission from FEMA to help assess the impacts from the fires on local watersheds.

The debris removal mission is a two-phase process – Phase I was the removal of household hazardous waste (HHW); and Phase II is the removal of other fire-related debris (brick and mortar). Phase I (removal of HHW) was completed by the U.S. EPA and California Department of Toxic Substances Control.

The Corps’ mission is Phase II removal of other fire-related debris in Lake, Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties. Phase II debris removal began the first week of November and is more than 80 percent complete, according to a Feb. 24 Corps update http://www.spk.usace.army.mil/CAwildfire/. More than 1.5-million tons of wildfire-related debris has been removed from the four counties.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is prepared and ready to respond to natural and human-made disasters and overseas contingencies. When disasters occur, Corps teams and other resources are mobilized from across the country to assist our local districts and offices to deliver our response missions.

•The Corps has more than 50 specially-trained response teams supported by emergency contracts to perform a wide range of public works and engineering-related support missions.
• The Corps uses pre-awarded contracts that can be quickly activated for missions such as debris removal, temporary roofing, commodities distribution, and generator installation.
•Every year, the Corps, as part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies, deploys hundreds of people to provide technical engineering expertise and to promote capacity development at home and abroad.
•In 2016, The Corps had 1,096 personnel deployments in response to one or more of 33 disaster declarations.

Public Affairs Office

Release no. 18-019