Concern For Frogs Delays State Cleanup At Some Camp Fire Properties

Nov. 18, 2018; Chico, CA, USA; The Camp Fire burned so quickly through the town of Paradise that little remains recognizable from the businesses that once lined the streets near the heart of the town.
Photo credit Kelly Jordan-USA TODAY NETWORK
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

Hundreds of people whose homes burned in the Camp Fire are worried about hitting a speed bump in the debris cleanup effort. 

State Sen Jim Nielsen, whose district includes parts of Butte County burned by last year's historically destructive fire,  said constituents are upset that environmental concerns might slow the cleanup of their properties.

The delay is "absurd," Nielsen said. "They call in to the office and they're complaining that… [agency officials> say we've got an endangered frog here and they can't move ahead with cleaning our property up. We've got plans to rebuild. Why is this being delayed?"

Justin Jacobs with Cal OES, the state's office of emergency services that's overseeing debris removal, said a fraction of the 11,000 properties in the program may be affected. Generally, the environmental concern is affecting lots that are within 100 feet of a body of water. 

"These specific areas have experienced a little bit of a delay, but we're working on that and a decision and path forward is expected in the coming days," Jacobs says.

On any given day, there are 141 crews hauling away debris from roughly 100 properties, Jacobs said. 

Nielsen said he's confident Cal OES can figure this out.

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