SCU Complex Fire Update and Wrap-up From Louay Toma

We wanted to send out an update as the State Consolidated Debris Removal Program and debris removal process continues. We have made great progress thus far and want to thank everybody for their continued patience and ongoing assistance. The State sub-contractors are continuing their work on (applicable) properties that have been impacted by the SCU Complex Fire.  This includes but is not limited to removal of hazardous trees, asbestos, and contaminated soil.


After the debris is removed from the properties, the contractors also perform a “scrape” of a layer of soil to remove contaminants that are commonly found in fire debris. They take soil samples and have those analyzed at a state-certified lab to ensure they have removed enough contaminants.  This is to ensure that these substances are below state screening levels and are protective of human health and the environment.  Failure to remove the contaminants could result in contamination of surface water or groundwater, which is relied upon in the community for drinking water. If the soil samples are below the state screening criteria, the property is approved for next steps (erosion control, hazard tree removal, etc.) and once all steps are completed the State sends final signoff to the County. The County will then process the final signoff and send a completion letter to the property owner, which includes important information regarding insurance proceeds for those properties that had fire insurance with debris removal coverage. If any of the soil sample results exceed the state screening criteria, the contractor will have to scrape soil again or (re-scrape) and take additional soil samples to ensure state screening criteria are met.  The final signoff process includes completing the following steps: household hazardous waste removed, fire debris removed, soil tested and approved, erosion control completed, hazard trees removed if applicable, and final site walk by the State. To date over 90% of eligible properties have had their fire debris removed and continue through various stages of the process.  The Department of Environmental Health staff continue to work diligently with CalOES to process all properties to final sign off completion and return back to their owners. For more information on the State’s specific process please visit the CalRecycle website:  


The goal is to have all debris removal completed and the subcontractors out of the area by the deadline of May 1st 2021. However, if specific properties are delayed or require additional time for any reason, work will continue until completed on those parcels. The State has indicated it will not leave the County until all properties that fall under the Consolidated Debris Removal Program are complete.


In the interim the County continues to advocate on behalf of community members with regard to private utility partners that support the community affected by the SCU Complex fire. If you are having or have had issues with Verizon, PG&E, Frontier Communications (or other service providers) directly due to the SCU Complex Fire please reach out to see if we can support you as we have many other community members.


Additionally, please be aware of resources available to you free of charge from the County and Nonprofit partners. These resources can range from Mental Health and Well-Being services at (800)704-0900 or services such as those recently offered in the attached documents from Catholic Charities. If there are any questions/concerns about the topics discussed in this email or other items regarding the SCU Complex Fire, please feel free to reach out to me and I will be happy to assist or provide you the right person or agency to provide the appropriate insight or support. Thank you for your ongoing efforts and support.





Louay Toma CEM, MPA

Emergency Manager

Santa Clara County Fire Department

Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management

Office (408) 808-7800

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