SonomaCountyRecovers: Official recovery information for Sonoma County fires

No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year value if the restructure is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the base year value at its full market value.

No.  Phase II of the Program is for debris removal of destroyed structures that are at least 120 square feet.

Teams handling hazardous waste will not remove appliances or electronic wastes, such as TV and computer monitors, computers processing units or cell phones. These materials will be removed as part of Phase II.

No, only property owners are responsible for debris removal.

No. All contractors will be licensed and insured, and their insurance will cover any injuries or damage to equipment that occurs during the debris removal process.

No, the wording in the ROE form is required by California and Federal law and therefore, the terms cannot be changed. We understand that there are many questions related to this form, and we will provide responses through the frequently asked questions document.

As an alternative to the federally assisted debris removal program, a homeowner can take on the costs of debris removal themselves and hire a properly licensed contractor.  All work must be completed pursuant to requirements set by the city and the county. You may not do the work yourself unless you have the required certification/license. No state or federal funds will be available outside of the Program. It is recommended that you consult with your insurance company prior to any clean-up activity.

Ash or debris cannot be removed prior to the completion of Phase I because of hazardous waste and public health hazards. The Phase II portion of the Program is being offered to provide property owners safe and comprehensive debris removal using specialized contractors managed by the Army Corp s of Engineers (Corps). Property owners that choose not to participate in this program will be given additional guidance on city and county permitting shortly, and cannot begin private ash and debris removal prior to standards being approved. Property owne rs performing private debris removal activities must do so in accordance with city and county guidance at their own expense. This includes compliance with all legal requirements for disposal, authorized disposal sites, best management practices for activit ies on site, proper transportation and documentation of waste, and erosion control.

The period to apply for the Sonoma County Consolidated Debris Removal Program closed on Monday, November 13th, 2017.

If you have circumstances that prevented you from submitting your Right-of-Entry form by the deadline, please call 707-565-6700. Late Right-of-Entry form submissions will be considered on a case by case basis for inclusion in the Program.

Refer to the document below to learn about the types of debris that are eligible and not eligible for removal.

State/Federal Wildfire Debris Removal Program Eligibility

Right-of-Entry Permit Checklist for Property Owners

Sonoma County Environmental Health and the Public Works Department are working with CalOES and other federal and state partners in a program to facilitate safe removal and handling of burn debris and ash. To obtain this service a homeowner must complete the proper paperwork to allow these agencies to clean up their property.

Documents needed for submittal of the Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Permit:

  • Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Permit form English / Spanish
  • Government Issued ID
  • Insurance Policy
    • Declaration page
    • Debris Removal Coverage page
  • Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN)
  • Signatures of All Owners, Trustees or Power of Attorney
  • Trust or LLC Documents
    • 1st page of Trust, LLCetc.
    • Signature Authorization page
    • Power of Attorney signature page
    • Any other relevant pages

Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Permit Form

Available either:

Home Owned by 1 or More People

All owners listed on the title of the home must:

Home Owned by a Trust, LLC or other Legal Entity

If a home is owned by a trust, LLC or other legal entity, please bring:

  • The first page of the trust, LLC or other agreement.
  • The Signature Authorization page.
  • The Power of Attorney Signature page.
  • Any other relevant pages.

All trustees or signatories must sign the Debris Removal Right-of-Entry Permit form.

Insurance Policy

If the home is insured please bring a copy of the homeowner’s insurance policy. Especially important are the declaration page and the debris removal coverage page.

A copy of your insurance policy is needed because it contains a section outlining your debris removal coverage. Per CalOES part of the right-of-entry and debris removal process includes securing insurance reimbursement for the agencies if any is available after a homeowner rebuilds.

Application Process is Subject to Change

The County is working diligently with agency partners to finalize this process. Additional requirements may be necessary at a later date to complete the right to enter application process.

Phase II of the Program is for debris removal of destroyed structures on residential properties that are at least 120 square feet.

If you have a complaint regarding code enforcement violations during the debris removal process, you can submit it to the city or county via:

City:

MySantaRosa:  srcity.org/MySantaRosa

Select “Fire Debris”

 

County:

Sonoma County Report It: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/Services/SoCo-Report-It/Submit-a-Service-Request/

Select “Fire Debris Removal Complaints”

For non‐residential structures less than 120 SQFT, fences, and non‐structural wood material, no work plan is required so long as the structures contained no paint, pesticides, herbicides, propane, or other similar hazardous substances, and so long as the requirements listed in the document below are followed. This exemption does not apply to parcels with asbestos or parcels that the EPA has flagged as potentially not cleared of household hazardous waste (HHW).

Click here to view requirements for minor burn debris removal and cleanup.

You should include on your ROE information regarding the location of any wells, septic systems, ponds, pools, leach fields, water lines, or other structures on your property so contractors are aware of their locations. These items can be identified on the blank last page of the ROE, or by attaching plans, drawings, etc.

Property owners sign up by completing a Right-of-Entry Permit (ROE) form, and providing insurance information if applicable. The ROE and insurance documents must be submitted to the County of Sonoma Department of Health Services – Environmental Health in person or by mail at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404, by email to ehroe@sonoma-county.org, or by fax at (707) 565-6525.

The ROE form can be obtained by going to https://www.sonomacountyrecovers.org/debris-removal/ or visiting the ROE Processing Center located at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404. The ROE Processing Center can be reached by phone at 707-565-6700.

Property owners sign up by completing a Right – of – Entry Permit (ROE) form, and providing insurance information if applicable. The ROE and insurance documents must be submitted to the County of Sonoma Department of Health Services – Environmental Health in person at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404, by email to ehroe@sonoma-county.org, or by fax at (707) – 565 – 6525. The ROE form can be obtained online here or the ROE Processing Center located at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404.

We recommend that you consult with a professional land surveyor/engineer to get an accurate determination of where your legal property lines are. Additional information may be included in your deed and in Assessor’s maps.

We encourage you to complete your ROE as soon as possible, however, we have not yet determined a deadline to sign up for participation in Phase II. We understand that there are questions and concerns about how participation will impact your recovery process, and whether participation is the right thing for you and your family. We are working on providing additional information to help you make this decision, and are conducting informational meetings about the Program. While you are deciding, please make sure you do not begin the debris removal process, which could impact your eligibility for the Program.

The deadline to sign up is November 13, 2017.

If you had insurance in effect at the time of the wildfire that provides coverage for debris removal, it is required that those funds, 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 II 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 the USACE Phase II, you can use your debris insurance proceeds to cover those costs, and will only be expected to assign the remainder to reimburse the Program. If you do not have insurance the Program will be provided at no cost.

Phase I of the Program is being conducted at no cost to property owners. If you choose to participate in Phase II of the Program, there is no cost to the property owner, and removal will be completed in compliance with all local, state and federal laws. If you had insurance in effect at the time of the wildfire that provides coverage for debris removal, it is required that those funds go toward the reimbursement of Program costs. 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 II of the program, we recommend that you consult with your insurance carrier to confirm how much is dedicated to debris removal.

Property owners can begin rebuilding once the debris removal process is complete and appropriate city and/or county permits are obtained.

Phase I is currently underway; EPA will post a sign on each property when the HHW removal is complete.  EPA will also notify the broader community when it has completed HHW removal in an entire neighborhood. When Phase II begins USACE employees will be contacting homeowners via phone to provide notice of work start times.  The USACE contractor is required to provide USACE a formal report of completion.  USACE will provide those reports to the county and county will notify property owner.

The overall project is scheduled to be completed by early 2018. Phasing of clean-up will be decided after the ROE form submittal deadline and will be based, in part, on concentration of participating properties.

Private debris removal must follow the standards adopted by the City of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma, which mirror the state standards being used by the USACE for the Debris Removal Program.

To access  the City of Santa Rosa private debris removal application:

To access the County of Sonoma private debris removal application:

Generally, no. If the insurance proceeds you received did not include a specified amount for debris removal you will not be responsible for any costs associated with the debris removal. For more information, contact the Department of Insurance.

Phase I of the Program is required for all residential properties. All properties are required to timely remove the hazardous debris fields. Phase II debris removal by USACE is optional, however, properties are required to timely remove the hazardous debris fields and deadlines will be set by the City and County. Removal by private contractor is authorized but will 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. Phase I of the Program is being conducted at no cost to property owners.

Sifting through your property will NOT jeopardize your claims for disaster assistance. Property owners who desire to search debris for possible salvageable valuables or mementos should do so with caution and with proper protective gear: eye protection, masks, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and protective footwear. Residents should minimize contact with fire debris, which may contain materials that can be hazardous to your health. For more information click here.

Yes, any destroyed structures on a residential property that are at least 120 square feet can be included in Phase II.

Deadline to apply is Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

Due to the public health emergency, property owners are required to clean their property of all ash and burn debris in a timely manner. If property owners choose not to participate in the Consolidated Debris Removal Program described above (or if their properties are ineligible for the program), they may undertake the clean-up at their own expense with work performed by qualified personnel as set forth in the documents below.

For City of Santa Rosa Residents:

Forms updated 11/7 to include Guidelines, Templates, Resource List for Property Owners, Contractors and Consultants 

Turn completed forms into:

Permits Counter, Planning & Economic Development Department
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 5
Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Public counter hours:
Mon:  8am – 4:30pm
Tue:  8am – 4:30pm
Wed:  10:30am – 4:30pm
Thu:  8am – 4:30pm
Fri:  8am – 12pm

For County of Sonoma Residents:

County of Sonoma Private Clean-up Application Forms (English)

Turn completed forms into:

Right-of-Entry (ROE) Processing Center
625 5th Street (between Riley and Humboldt)
Santa Rosa, CA
Phone: (707) 565-6700

Hours: 
Monday –  Friday
7:30am – 4:30pm

Landfills Accepting Ash and Debris

Contractors or individuals need to contact the facility prior to delivery to confirm facilities are currently accepting waste. Click here to view the list.

Health Screening Level Guidance

Th summary tables in this document provide updated health screening level guidance and cleanup goals for the Sonoma County Complex Fires Alternative Program. Click here to view the document.

I submitted a Right-of-Entry (ROE) form but now I want to cancel, what do I do?

To cancel a previously-granted Right of Entry Permit, this cancellation form must be signed by the Owner(s), and either delivered to the Sonoma County Environmental Health at 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa CA 95404, or emailed to EHROE@sonoma-county.org as a signed PDF. Sonoma County Environmental Health must receive this form on or prior to November 22, 2017.

All owners who signed the Right of Entry Permit must sign this request. Phone-in and verbal cancellations cannot be accepted. Cancellations can only be accepted up until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attempts to notify the property owner 24-48 hours in advance of Ash and Debris Cleanup (as described in the Right of Entry Permit). Please note that the Director of Environmental Health may deny requests for cancellation after November 22, 2017 (the deadline for private cleanup application submission).

Right-of-Entry (ROE) Cancellation Form

Property owner should list the locations of sewer lines, electricity, gas, cable, septic tanks, water lines, and wells on the ROE form.

State and federal laws require that you agree not to sue the county, state, or federal government for harm resulting from the debris removal.

Sites will be left in an environmentally safe condition with erosion control measures in place ready for property owners to begin the rebuilding process. Some grading may be necessary to meet building site specifications.

Any pre-existing improvements on the Property, such as fences, gates, etc. which are damaged or temporarily removed in the debris removal process will be repaired and/or replaced.

Any pre-existing improvements on the Property, such as fences, gates, etc. which are damaged or temporarily removed in the debris removal process will be repaired and/or replaced by the contractor.

Local agencies will work with our state and federal partners to make sure that all properties are addressed to a level that protects public health and safety.

If crews come across personal belongings, they will set them aside. Large personal items can be identified on the ROE.

There will be several teams of staff and numerous pieces of heavy equipment along with transport trucks for hauling equipment and waste. Many of these trucks will be parked along roads during the cleanup. These crews will create a good deal of noise, but the time periods will abide by the Sonoma County noise ordinance. There will be water trucks providing dust control and workers cleaning up after trucks hauling debris.

Phase II will include debris and ash removal related to any structures on your residential property that are at least 120 square feet and destroyed. 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.

We anticipate having the cleanup of all sites in the Program completed by early 2018.

The Sonoma County Consolidated Fire Debris Removal Program (Program) has two phases: removal of household hazardous waste and removal of other fire-related debris.

Phase I:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently inspecting all fire-damaged properties and removing Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) that may pose a threat to human health, animals, and the environment such as batteries, propane tanks, and paints. Phase I is being conducted at no cost to property owners and is required for all residential properties. It consists of air monitoring for worker safety and visual observations to identify locations of HHW and other hazardous materials and containers. Once properties are surveyed, HHW collection teams will remove the materials identified during the survey. HHW includes leftover household products that can catch fire, react, or explode under certain circumstances, or that are corrosive or toxic.  Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides can contain hazardous ingredients and require special handling and disposal.

Phase II: The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local officials are coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to conduct fire-related debris removal from your property. This will include removal of all burnt debris, including appliances, electronics, foundations, trees that are a safety risk to contractors, and some soil to ensure the site is clean and safe for building.

General of air quality is currently being conducted by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD). Air monitoring related to environmental cleanup of fire-related disaster debris will be conducted by USACE. More information is available at https://monitoring.airfire.org

To expedite recovery, state and federal partners will coordinate closely with the County of Sonoma and City of Santa Rosa to remove fire debris from single-family residential lots and public facilities.

Household hazardous waste must be removed without delay to protect the public health and safety. Additionally, hazardous waste could have significant long-term environmental impacts and should not be combined with the waste from the general clean-up that is going to the landfill. Removal of hazardous waste from the fire debris prevents these environmental contaminants from polluting the environment, and protects the workers and the public from exposure during debris removal efforts. The crews that conduct removal are specifically certified to handle household hazardous waste.

Yes, foundation removal will be included in Phase II of the Program. The decision to include foundation removal on all sites was based on prior damage assessments from similar disasters. Testing following previous fires has confirmed that most foundations were not structurally safe, and that contamination leached into the soil underneath foundations that cannot be addressed without foundation removal. Even if your foundation has been determined to be structurally sound, there is a risk of exposure to toxins if you choose not to remove it.  If you want to keep your foundation, you are not eligible for Phase II of the Program, and you will be required to meet approved standards to ensure the structural integrity of your foundation.

Foundation piers will not be removed. The contractor will make every effort to minimize damage done to piers during stem wall and foundation removal.

Pools will generally not be removed under the Program. In rare circumstances, such as indoor pools, they will need to be removed as part of the residential clean-up.

Generally, retaining walls will not be removed.

Generally, in Phase II trees will not be removed. However, USACE will be removing any trees that either impede their work or present a hazard to their crews.

Owners are not required to be present for either phase of this process. The safety of the general public and workers is a priority during debris operations. To prevent safety hazards, the public is encouraged to stay away from areas where debris removal operations are underway. Exclusion zones will be established surrounding the current work area to ensure the safety of the public.

Cleaning and sanitizing your household after an emergency is important to help prevent the spread of illness and disease.

Clean and sanitize surfaces in a four-step process

  1. Wash with soap and hot, clean water.
  2. Rinse with clean water.
  3. Sanitize by immersing for 1 minute in a solution of 1 cup (8 oz/240 mL) of unscented household chlorine bleach in 5 gallons of clean water.
  4. Allow to air dry.

Please remember the following safety tips when cleaning:

  • Never mix bleach with ammonia or any other cleaner.
  • Wear rubber or other non-porous boots, gloves, and eye protection.
  • Try not to breathe in product fumes. If using products indoors, open windows and doors to allow fresh air to enter.
  • Cleaning & Sanitizing with Bleach
  • Use regular unscented 5%—6% household bleach.

Fire ash may be irritating to the skin, nose, and throat, and may cause coughing and/or nose bleeds. Fine particles can be inhaled deeply into lungs and may aggravate asthma and make it difficult to breathe. If the ash contains asbestos, nickel, arsenic or cadmium, then exposure is a particular concern because these substances can cause cancer. Because the substances in the ash vary, it is always best to be cautious.

A fire in a home can cause serious damage. The building and many of the things in your home may have been badly damaged by flames, heat, smoke and water. Please read these safety precautions.

If you are preparing to return to an area under evacuation, make sure you have ID. If you do not, visit the Disaster Recovery Center.

If you don’t have an ID, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued emergency proclamations authorizing fee and/or penalty waivers for victims of wildfires in nine counties, allowing them to replace at no cost the following items if damaged due to the fires: duplicate driver licenses, identification cards, vehicle registration and title, and disabled person parking placards. In addition, fire victims can acquire substitute license plates and stickers, vehicle disposal paperwork, and driver record printouts, as well as process a change of address. For more information visit the DMV website.

Here are some other  options for replacing lost ID:

  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles is offering limited services to residents affected by the wildfires raging across the state. Fire victims who need to replace lost or damaged DMV-related documents can do so free of charge at recovery centers in the impacted areas. The DMV is one of several state and federal agencies working together to provide services to fire victims.
  • Disaster Recovery Centers 
  • Do not allow children to play in the ash and wash off children’s toys before children play with them.
  • Immediately wash any part of your body that touches ash to avoid irritation. The best protection for children is to keep them indoors to reduce their exposure until ash has been removed.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables from your garden thoroughly before eating them.
  • Remove shoes before entering your home or use “sticky mats” in entryways and doors to remove dust and ash from your shoes. Sticky mats are sold in hardware stores.
  • Keep pets out of ash areas and wash pets when they have been exposed to ash.

For more information:

  • Frequently clean indoor surfaces and follow by wet mopping to reduce exposure to ash indoors.
  • Use only high efficiency particulate air (HEPA-filter) vacuum cleaners. Shop vacuums and other common vacuum cleaners do not filter out small particles, but instead can put particles back into the air where they can be inhaled.

For more information: Returning to Home Ash Guide

Sensitive People

People with asthma or other lung diseases, pregnant women, and the elderly or very young should exercise special caution because they may be more susceptible to health effects from the ash.

Children

Do not allow children to play in ash. Wash and clean all children’s toys carefully after possible contamination. Children should not be in the vicinity while cleanup is in progress. Even if you care is exercised, it is easy to stir up ash that may contain hazardous substances. In addition, the exploratory behavior of children may result in direct contact with contaminated materials.

Pets

Clean ash off house pets and other domesticated animals if they have been in contaminated areas. However, it is best to not allow pets in these areas due to the potential risk to their health and their ability to spread outside of contaminated areas.

The following guidelines are recommended for the maintenance of pools impacted by smoke and ash contamination or fire damage. Do not allow use of the pool until the following steps have been completed:

  1. Clean skimmer baskets of debris and skim water surface of pool with pool net to remove floating debris.
  2. Brush sides and bottom of pool to loosen contaminants. Vacuum pool.
  3. Backwash and clean filter, discharging waste to municipal sanitary sewer only. If connected to a septic tank system, discharge the backwash to a pervious surface (gravel, lawn, open space) to allow for infiltration without erosion. Backwash to the storm drain system (alleys, driveways, streets, storm drains) and creeks is prohibited by law.
  4. Check pH and adjust to between 7.2 and 7.8.
  5. Check free chlorine level and adjust to minimum of 2.0 ppm.
  6. Ensure the recirculation system is operating properly by checking filter pressure and/or flow meter.
  7. Reopen pool to bathers when pH levels between 7.2 and 7.8 and free chlorine is at least 2.0 ppm and not more than 10 ppm.
  8. Due to the amount of smoke and ash in the air, these steps may need to be repeated after cleaning the filters.
  9. Alternatively, a swimming pool service company may be contracted to clean the pool. Check for their business license and experience in servicing pools. Pool service operators likewise are prohibited from discharging backwash to the storm drain system.

Deck Cleaning:  Do not hose down the deck to storm drains. You may spray water lightly to minimize dust and ashes from becoming airborne, then use a stiff brush or broom to sweep up small amounts of ash and debris. A mop and bucket could also be used for cleanup. Large amounts of ash and debris may need to be cleaned by a professional hazardous material cleanup service.

Draining Pools:  Draining of pools is not recommended. If you must drain the pool, contact the sanitation agency of your local jurisdiction for guidance. Never empty swimming pool water and/or chemicals to the storm drain. They must be drained to the sanitary sewer. Within the City of Santa Rosa call Environmental Compliance at (707) 543-3369. For unincorporated areas call the Sonoma County Water Agency, Environmental Services at (707) 521-1820 or (707) 547-1078.

Mosquito Breeding:  Pools with standing water could breed mosquitoes. Please call Marin and Sonoma County Vector Control at 800-231-3236 to have staff come and stock the pool with mosquito-eating fish until the power and pool recirculation system are restored.

Damaged Pool, Enclosure or Recirculation System:  For pools that have had damage to the recirculation system, the pool enclosure, or the pool shell, contact a pool professional for evaluation.

  • Wear sturdy shoes (steel toes and shanks are recommended) and clothing
  • Hazardous chemicals and conditions may be present
  • Inspect propane tanks for visible damage before turning on
  • Wear protective gear when sorting through possessions. Anything in contact with ash should be sanitized and cleaned.  Sorting through/cleaning burn debris is not recommended.
  • Be aware of slip, trip, fall and puncture hazards.

It is important to understand the risk to your safety and health even after the fire is out. The soot and dirty water left behind may contain things that could make you sick. Be very careful if you touch any fire-damaged items. Ask the advice of the fire department, local building officials, your insurance agent, and restoration specialists before starting to clean or make repairs. Do not eat, drink, or breathe in anything that has been near the flames, smoke soot, or water used to put the fire out.

  • Do not use leaf blowers or do any activities that will put ash into the air.
  • Covering clothing is recommended, when in proximity to ash. Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants to avoid skin contact, whenever possible. Goggles are recommended. Contact with wet ash may cause chemical burns or irritation on skin. Change your shoes and clothing prior to leaving the decontamination site, to avoid tracking ash into your car, home, etc.
  • Double bag debris and ash in plastic bags or other containers. Be sure to seal all bags or containers to prevent ash from being redistributed in the environment by wind or rain.
  • Wear a close fitting respirator mask that is rated N-95 or P-100 to block particles from ash or smoke from being inhaled. N-95 respirators are well-fitted when they do not come into contact with facial hair; strap tension is adequate, not overly tightened; and masks fit across the nose bridge.  A tight seal would not be possible for most children, even with a small adult-size model. People with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before using a respirator during post-fire cleanup.
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the only agency that certifies respirators to determine that they adequately protect people. Look for NIOSH approval on the package or label.

For more information: Returning to Home Ash Guide

While foreign students may qualify for non-cash in-kind disaster relief (such as search and rescue, provision of food, water, sheltering, or emergency medical assistance), they do not qualify for cash assistance because their authorization to reside in the United States is based in part on the existence of an in-country support system.

By law, FEMA cannot give you money for items that your insurance covers, (this would be considered a duplication of benefits), but FEMA may be able to help with uncompensated losses or unmet needs not covered by your insurance company. If you have not already contacted your insurance agent to file a claim, please do this as soon as possible. If you do not file a claim with your insurance company, FEMA help may be limited.  If your insurance company tells you that your deductible is greater than the amount of damage found, please request a letter from the insurance company, on company letterhead, and send it to FEMA, along with your application for assistance. 

Yes, with very few exceptions, if you want federal assistance you must register with FEMA, either by telephone (1-800-621-FEMA (3362)), online (www.DisasterAssistance.gov) or at a Disaster Recovery Center. You will need your FEMA registration number for future reference.

If you are applying on your minor child’s behalf, you should provide his/her Social Security Number.

A grant from the FEMA Individual and Households Program does not have to be repaid. Loans from the Small Business Administration must be repaid. Be sure you understand the repayment rules for loans before you take out a loan.

Find more information on FEMA’s site FEMA Grants vs. Loans.

Have available information ready:

  • Social Security number(s)
  • Address of the damaged home or apartment
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • Telephone number
  • Mailing address
  • Bank account & routing numbers for direct deposits of funds

Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), go online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or visit a Disaster Recovery Center as soon as possible.

Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time seven days a week until further notice.

You can view the FEMA Registration Intake Video to learn more about the process and how to apply. You can also learn how FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) may be able to help.

To check the status of your application you need to create an account first.

To create an account:

  1. Click Check Your Status on the Home page or from the Get Assistance tab.
  2. Click Create Account.

Detailed instructions can be found under How do I create an account?

If you already have an account:

  1. Click Check Your Status on the Home page or from the Get Assistance tab.
  2. Log in with your user ID, password and PIN to get Your Application Status page.

You must have an email address to create the account. This is the only way we can send a PIN to you, and you need the PIN to access your account.

If you don’t know if you finished your application, call the FEMA Helpline, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, 7 days a week:

  • 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)
  • TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • 711 or VRS 1-800-621-3362

Most disaster aid programs are intended to meet only essential needs and are not intended to cover all your losses. Also, some people qualify for assistance from more than one program, and may receive additional help from another agency. For example, the Small Business Administration is a very important source of funding for repair and replacement of real and personal property. If you received a loan application packet from the SBA, please complete and return the application as soon as possible. No work can begin on the loan until you submit your application. If you do not agree with FEMA’s decision, you may appeal the decision. To file an appeal, follow the appeals process that is explained in your letter from FEMA.

  • You may be eligible for short-term, non-cash, emergency aid provided by FEMA.
  • You will not be personally eligible for FEMA cash assistance programs (Individuals and Households Program Assistance); however, you may apply on behalf of your U.S. citizen child, or another adult household member may qualify the household for assistance.

Yes, you may be eligible under many different programs run by state and local agencies and voluntary agencies for various types of cash assistance.

  • You can apply on behalf of your minor child (under 18 years of age) for FEMA cash assistance (Individuals and Households Program Assistance) if you live together.
  • You will not have to provide any information on your immigration status or sign any documents regarding your status.

Not necessarily, because having a Social Security Number does not automatically mean that you are a Qualified Alien. You may be legally present in the U.S. and have a Social Security Number, but not be a Qualified Alien.

  • You must be a U.S. Citizen, Non-Citizen National, or a Qualified Alien in order to be eligible for FEMA cash assistance programs: Individuals and Households Program Assistance and Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
  • A Qualified Alien1 includes anyone with legal permanent residence (“green card”).
  • You will be asked to sign a Declaration and Release (FEMA Form 90-69 B) that you are a U.S. Citizen, Non-Citizen National, or a Qualified Alien.
  • If you cannot sign the Declaration and Release, another adult household member who is eligible can sign it and no information regarding your status will be gathered.
  • If you cannot sign the Declaration and Release but you have a minor child who is a U.S. Citizen or a Qualified Alien residing with you, you can apply for assistance on your child’s behalf and no information regarding your status will be gathered. You will be asked to sign a declaration that your child is a U.S. Citizen, Non-Citizen National, or a Qualified Alien.
  • You do not have to be a U.S. Citizen or a Qualified Alien for Crisis Counseling or Disaster Legal Services or for other short-term, non-cash emergency assistance.

FEMA coordinates the Federal Government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters. SBA, on the other hand, is the Federal Government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses, and non-profit organizations repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory, and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY 1-800-877-8339).

For a three-step Disaster Assistance Process and recent news on disaster response and recovery, please visit www.fema.gov/apply-assistance. If you are looking for the nearest Disaster Recovery Center, go to www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.

The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) is a one-stop-shop with critical government services for residents who have been impacted by the fires. Replace lost or destroyed vital documents (ID, financial information, etc.) and get connected with financial support services such as insurance information and apply for FEMA aid. Disaster assistance is available to all members of our community. You will not be asked to show proof of legal citizenship to receive assistance.

 

For Disaster Recovery Center locations and hours of operation click here.

To be eligible for cash assistance from FEMA you must generally be a lawful permanent residents (possessing an alien registration receipt card) or those with legal status due to asylum, refugee, parole (admission into the U.S. for humanitarian purposes), withholding of deportation, or domestic violence. Applicants should consult an immigration expert concerning whether or not their immigration status falls within the qualified alien category. Find more information on FEMA’s website.

To protect each borrower and the Agency, SBA may require you to obtain and maintain appropriate insurance. By law, borrowers whose damaged or collateral property is located in a special flood hazard area must purchase and maintain flood insurance. SBA requires that flood insurance coverage be the lesser of

  • The total of the disaster loan
  • The insurable value of the property
  • The maximum insurance available

Source: U.S. Small Business Loan Administration

Yes, with very few exceptions, if you want federal assistance you must register with FEMA, either by telephone (1-800-621-FEMA (3362)), online (www.DisasterAssistance.gov) or at a Disaster Recovery Center. You will need your FEMA registration number for future reference.

A grant from the FEMA Individual and Households Program does not have to be repaid. Loans from the Small Business Administration must be repaid. Be sure you understand the repayment rules for loans before you take out a loan.

Find more information on FEMA’s site FEMA Grants vs. Loans.

Have available information ready:

  • Social Security number(s)
  • Address of the damaged home or apartment
  • Description of the damage
  • Information about insurance coverage
  • Telephone number
  • Mailing address
  • Bank account & routing numbers for direct deposits of funds

Disaster survivors should first register with FEMA by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362). TTY users call 800-462-7585, with Video Relay Service survivors calling 800-621-3362. Or you can register online. To apply for an SBA disaster loan survivors can apply in person at any of the Disaster Recovery Centers or directly online.

Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), go online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or visit a Disaster Recovery Center as soon as possible.

Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time seven days a week until further notice.

You can view the FEMA Registration Intake Video to learn more about the process and how to apply. You can also learn how FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) may be able to help.

To check the status of your application you need to create an account first.

To create an account:

  1. Click Check Your Status on the Home page or from the Get Assistance tab.
  2. Click Create Account.

Detailed instructions can be found under How do I create an account?

If you already have an account:

  1. Click Check Your Status on the Home page or from the Get Assistance tab.
  2. Log in with your user ID, password and PIN to get Your Application Status page.

You must have an email address to create the account. This is the only way we can send a PIN to you, and you need the PIN to access your account.

If you don’t know if you finished your application, call the FEMA Helpline, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET, 7 days a week:

  • 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)
  • TTY 1-800-462-7585
  • 711 or VRS 1-800-621-3362

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters. Survivors of the California wildfires may have questions about the SBA.

SBA disaster loans are the primary source of federal long-term disaster recovery funds for disaster damage not fully covered by insurance or other compensation. SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance is working in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help business owners and residents recover as much as possible from this disaster.

Disaster SNAP can help with food expenses. With the fire disaster in Sonoma County, soon are now able to apply for Disaster CalFresh, an additional food benefit for victims of disasters.

To get Disaster SNAP you must go to your local County Welfare office by Tuesday, October 31. You’ll receive a card within 3-days and can get up to $192 per person in your household.

Click here for more information about Disaster CalFresh.

SBA can refinance all or part of prior mortgages that are evidenced by a recorded lien, when the applicant:

  • Does not have credit available elsewhere,
  • Has suffered substantial uncompensated disaster damage (40 percent or more of the value of the property)
  • Intends to repair the damage.

Homes: Homeowners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing liens or mortgages on homes, and in some cases up to the amount of the loan for real estate repair or replacement.

Businesses: Business owners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing mortgages or liens on real estate, machinery and equipment, and in some cases up to the amount of the loan for the repair or replacement of real estate, machinery and equipment.

When SBA loan officers discuss their approval recommendations they will include a discussion on refinancing if applicable to your application.

 

If your loan application is approved, you may be eligible for additional funds to cover the cost of improvements that will protect your property against future damage. Examples of improvements include retaining walls, seawalls, sump pumps, etc. Mitigation loan money would be in addition to the amount of the approved loan, but may not exceed 20 percent of total amount of physical damage to real property, including leasehold improvements, and personal property as verified by SBA to a maximum of $200,000 for home loans. It is not necessary for the description of improvements and cost estimates to be submitted with the application. SBA approval of the mitigating measures will be required before any loan increase.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years. However, the law restricts businesses with credit available elsewhere to a maximum 7-year term. SBA sets the installment payment amount and corresponding maturity based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

  1. Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to Small Business Association (SBA)
  2. Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay all loans.
  3. Collateral – Collateral is required for physical loss loans over $25,000 and all Economic Injury Disaster Loans loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but requires you to pledge what is available

By law, the interest rates depend on whether each applicant has Credit Available Elsewhere. An applicant does not have Credit Available Elsewhere when SBA determines the applicant does not have sufficient funds or other resources, or the ability to borrow from non-government sources, to provide for its own disaster recovery. An applicant, which SBA determines to have the ability to provide for his or her own recovery is deemed to have Credit Available Elsewhere. Interest rates are fixed for the term of the loan. The interest rates applicable for this disaster are:

No Credit Available ElsewhereCredit Available Elsewhere
Business Loans3.305%6.610%
Non-Profit Organization Loans2.500%2.500%
Economic Injury Loans
Businesses and Small Agricultural Cooperatives3.305%N/A
Non-Profit Organizations2.500%N/A
Home Loans1.750%3.500%

Source: Small Business Loan Administration

Business Loans – The law limits business loans to $2,000,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate, inventories, machinery, equipment and all other physical losses. Subject to this maximum, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – The law limits EIDLs to $2,000,000 for alleviating economic injury caused by the disaster. The actual amount of each loan is limited to the economic injury determined by SBA, less business interruption insurance and other recoveries up to the administrative lending limit. EIDL assistance is available only to entities and their owners who cannot provide for their own recovery from non-government sources, as determined by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Business Loan Ceiling – The $2,000,000 statutory limit for business loans applies to the combination of physical, economic injury, mitigation and refinancing, and applies to all disaster loans to a business and its affiliates for each disaster. If a business is a major source of employment, SBA has the authority to waive the $2,000,000 statutory limit.

Home Loans – SBA regulations limit home loans to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property. Subject to these maximums, loan amounts cannot exceed the verified uninsured disaster loss.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters. Survivors of the California wildfires may have questions about the SBA

You may use your SBA disaster loan to relocate. The amount of the relocation loan depends on whether you relocate voluntarily or involuntarily. If you are approved for an SBA disaster loan you should discuss relocation with your case manager for details on your specific situation.

SBA disaster loans are the primary source of federal long-term disaster recovery funds for disaster damage not fully covered by insurance or other compensation. SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance is working in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help business owners and residents recover as much as possible from this disaster.

Eligible homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 for home repair or replacement of primary residences.

Eligible homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses of all sizes can qualify for up to $2 million in low-interest loans to help cover physical damage.

Small businesses and most private nonprofits suffering economic impact due to the wildfires can apply for up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury under SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

FEMA coordinates the Federal Government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters. SBA, on the other hand, is the Federal Government’s primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses, and non-profit organizations repair or replace real estate, personal property, machinery and equipment, inventory, and business assets that have been damaged or destroyed in a declared disaster. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY 1-800-877-8339).

Uninsured Losses – Only uninsured or otherwise uncompensated disaster losses are eligible. Any insurance proceeds which are required to be applied against outstanding mortgages are not available to fund disaster repairs and do not reduce loan eligibility. However, any insurance proceeds voluntarily applied to any outstanding mortgages do reduce loan eligibility.

Ineligible Property – Secondary homes, personal pleasure boats, airplanes, recreational vehicles and similar property are not eligible, unless used for business purposes. Property such as antiques and collections are eligible only to the extent of their functional value. Amounts for landscaping, swimming pools, etc., are limited.

Noncompliance – Applicants who have not complied with the terms of previous SBA loans may not be eligible. This includes borrowers who did not maintain flood and/or hazard insurance on previous SBA loans.

Note: Loan applicants should check with agencies / organizations administering any grant or other assistance program under this declaration to determine how an approval of SBA disaster loan might affect their eligibility.

Source: U.S. Small Business Administration

U.S. Small Business Administration Loans

  1. Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc., are also eligible.
  2. Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) – Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.
  3. Home Disaster Loans – Loans to homeowners or renters to repair or replace disaster-damaged real estate and personal property, including automobiles

The most common misunderstanding about an SBA disaster loan is the assumption that they are only for businesses. While SBA offers loans to businesses of all sizes, low-interest disaster loans are available to individual homeowners, renters and to private nonprofit organizations alike.

For a three-step Disaster Assistance Process and recent news on disaster response and recovery, please visit www.fema.gov/apply-assistance. If you are looking for the nearest Disaster Recovery Center, go to www.fema.gov/disaster-recovery-centers.

For questions about SBA or the process, or for help completing the SBA application, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by email or by phone at 800-659-2955, or visiting sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call (800) 877-8339. Survivors also may visit with an SBA representative at any Disaster Recovery Center. No appointment is necessary.

For more information on California’s wildfire recovery, survivors may visit: caloes.ca.gov or fema.gov/disaster/4240 and follow us on Twitter@femaregion9 and Facebook.com/FEMA.

When a federal disaster is declared, the SBA is authorized to offer low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private nonprofit organizations, and to individual homeowners and renters who have sustained damage in Sonoma County. 

Why should survivors apply?

  • Survivors referred to the SBA must apply with SBA even if they feel they cannot afford or do not want a loan in order to receive some FEMA assistance.
  • Whether a loan is wanted or not, the SBA loan application may trigger additional grant assistance through FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program, administered by the state of California.
  • Some of these additional FEMA grants could include reimbursement for lost personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage expenses.​

Survivors referred to the Small Business Administration must apply with SBA even if they feel they cannot afford or do not want a loan in order to receive some FEMA assistance.

Whether a loan is wanted or not, the SBA loan application may trigger additional grant assistance through FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program, administered by the state of California.

Some of these additional FEMA grants could include reimbursement for lost personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage expenses.​

After a fire, windborne material such as ash and soil from paddocks with inadequate ground cover may be blown into streams. Once in the water, organic materials provide ideal food for bacteria and algae. These organisms grow rapidly using up all free oxygen in the water (it becomes anaerobic) and putrefaction results. Symptoms are dark water, a bad smell and black scum around the water’s edge. Horses and other livestock find such water unpalatable. Thick scum around the water’s edge may also prevent animals accessing the water. It is believed the water is not poisonous to livestock, but it may be harmful to young or weak stock.

Creeks and streams located near burned areas are at a higher risk of flooding, due to increased rain runoff. Additionally, this runoff can carry sediment and debris which can block channels and culverts.

Increased rain runoff in burned areas can cause mud and debris flows. A group of local and state agencies are working to identify, notify, and implement protective measures in areas that may be at risk.

  • Install straw wattles to prevent debris, ash and erosion from flowing into waterways. Straw wattles can be picked-up from local hardware stores.
  • If you see something (flooding, mud and debris flows), say something – call 911
  • Monitor your surroundings, and have an emergency plan in place.
  • Stay informed: Listen to local radio stations, and sign up for Nixle and SoCo Alerts. Make sure that the emergency alerts on your cell phone are activated (on smart phones, go to “Notifications” and make sure the Emergency Alerts notification is turned on).
  • The goal this winter is to prevent ash and debris from entering the waterways. You can help by taking simple steps by placing straw wattles, hay bales, and mulch around burned areas to reduce the chances of ashes and other material from washing into streams.
  • Remember that everything that is outside drains to creeks and streams. Don’t use leaf blowers or hoses to remove ash and debris.
  • In the coming months, consider consulting a professional before implementing permanent erosion measures.
  • Wear protective gear whenever you work in burned areas.
  • Watch for unusual movement of water, land, and debris during or after rain. Have an emergency plan and leave your property if it becomes unsafe during or after a storm.
  • Minimize soil and slope disturbances. Ash, leaf drops, downed trees, and remnant burned vegetation all play a role in protecting the soil and slopes following wildfire.
  • Work with your neighbors. Runoff, erosion, and debris flows have no boundaries.
  • Private roads require more maintenance in the first few winters following wildfire. Clear debris upstream of culverts as possible, and check culverts for clogging after every storm. If culverts or other road drainage structures do not appear to be functioning properly, consult a professional.

For additional information, please visit  www.sonomarcd.org/resources/fire-recovery/

  • Multiple agencies are working together to assess and reduce the risk of flooding and to prevent fire-related debris, pollutants and sediment from being spread into our storm drains, creeks and rivers.
  • In urban areas, the City of Santa Rosa and the County of Sonoma are:
    • Increasing street-sweeping activities
    • Cleaning and checking storm drains
    • Installing wattles and sandbags to prevent debris from entering storm drains
    • Hydro-seeding to stabilize soil
  • Given the scale of the burned area, it will be impossible to prevent the migration of ash and debris into creeks, and the concentrations of hazardous materials is unknown.
  • Multiple agencies are working together to prevent fire-related debris, pollutants and sediment from being carried into our storm drains, creeks and rivers.

The goal this winter is to prevent ash and debris from entering the waterways. You can help by taking simple steps by placing straw wattles, hay bales, and mulch around burned areas to reduce the chances of ashes and other material from washing into streams.

  • Fire ash contains microscopic particles (dust, dirt, soot) that can be deposited on indoor and outdoor surfaces and can also be inhaled if the ash becomes airborne. Unless tested, the ash is not classified as a hazardous waste, however it may contain traces of hazardous chemicals such as metals (lead, cadmium, nickel, and arsenic), asbestos (from older homes or other buildings), perfluorochemicals (from degradation of non-stick cookware), flame retardants, and caustic materials. For these reasons, it is advisable to be cautious and avoid any unnecessary exposure to the ash.
  • Fire ash may be irritating to the skin, nose, and throat, and may cause coughing and/or nose bleeds. Fine particles can be inhaled deeply into lungs and may aggravate asthma and make it difficult to breathe. If the ash contains asbestos, nickel, arsenic or cadmium, then exposure is a particular concern because these substances can cause cancer. Because the substances in the ash vary, it is always best to be cautious.

Disaster survivors should first register with FEMA by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362). TTY users call 800-462-7585, with Video Relay Service survivors calling 800-621-3362. Or you can register online. To apply for an SBA disaster loan survivors can apply in person at any of the Disaster Recovery Centers or directly online.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters. Survivors of the California wildfires may have questions about the SBA.

SBA disaster loans are the primary source of federal long-term disaster recovery funds for disaster damage not fully covered by insurance or other compensation. SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance is working in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help business owners and residents recover as much as possible from this disaster.

Check with the Department of Consumer Affairs to find out how to select a licensed, qualified contractor; check the status of a contractor license; negotiate a clear contract; prevent disputes and mechanics liens; and resolve contractor disputes.

Be on the lookout for price gouging vendors, which is any vendor offering any products or services that are offered at greater than 10% of their pre-emergency price. Please report any price gouging to the District Attorney’s Office.

Simple rules to avoid becoming a victim of fraud when looking for a contractor:

  • Only use contractors licensed by the state of California
  • Get a written estimate of costs and get estimates from more than one contractor
  • Demand and check references
  • Ask for proof of insurance
    • Examples of proof include liability and Workmen’s Compensation
  • Insist on a written contract and refuse to sign a contract with blank spaces
  • Get any guarantees in writing
  • Make final payments only after the work is completed
  • Pay by check

The best way to avoid fraud is to arm yourself against it by having a checklist to remind you of what you need to demand when hiring a contractor.

SBA can refinance all or part of prior mortgages that are evidenced by a recorded lien, when the applicant:

  • Does not have credit available elsewhere,
  • Has suffered substantial uncompensated disaster damage (40 percent or more of the value of the property)
  • Intends to repair the damage.

Homes: Homeowners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing liens or mortgages on homes, and in some cases up to the amount of the loan for real estate repair or replacement.

Businesses: Business owners may be eligible for the refinancing of existing mortgages or liens on real estate, machinery and equipment, and in some cases up to the amount of the loan for the repair or replacement of real estate, machinery and equipment.

When SBA loan officers discuss their approval recommendations they will include a discussion on refinancing if applicable to your application.

 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses, private nonprofits, homeowners and renters. Survivors of the California wildfires may have questions about the SBA

You may use your SBA disaster loan to relocate. The amount of the relocation loan depends on whether you relocate voluntarily or involuntarily. If you are approved for an SBA disaster loan you should discuss relocation with your case manager for details on your specific situation.

SBA disaster loans are the primary source of federal long-term disaster recovery funds for disaster damage not fully covered by insurance or other compensation. SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance is working in conjunction with the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help business owners and residents recover as much as possible from this disaster.

Eligible homeowners may borrow up to $200,000 for home repair or replacement of primary residences.

Eligible homeowners and renters may borrow up to $40,000 to replace disaster-damaged or destroyed personal property.

Businesses of all sizes can qualify for up to $2 million in low-interest loans to help cover physical damage.

Small businesses and most private nonprofits suffering economic impact due to the wildfires can apply for up to $2 million for any combination of property damage or economic injury under SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.

The most common misunderstanding about an SBA disaster loan is the assumption that they are only for businesses. While SBA offers loans to businesses of all sizes, low-interest disaster loans are available to individual homeowners, renters and to private nonprofit organizations alike.

For questions about SBA or the process, or for help completing the SBA application, contact SBA’s Disaster Assistance Customer Service Center by email or by phone at 800-659-2955, or visiting sba.gov/disaster. Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals may call (800) 877-8339. Survivors also may visit with an SBA representative at any Disaster Recovery Center. No appointment is necessary.

For more information on California’s wildfire recovery, survivors may visit: caloes.ca.gov or fema.gov/disaster/4240 and follow us on Twitter@femaregion9 and Facebook.com/FEMA.

When a federal disaster is declared, the SBA is authorized to offer low-interest disaster loans to businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private nonprofit organizations, and to individual homeowners and renters who have sustained damage in Sonoma County. 

Why should survivors apply?

  • Survivors referred to the SBA must apply with SBA even if they feel they cannot afford or do not want a loan in order to receive some FEMA assistance.
  • Whether a loan is wanted or not, the SBA loan application may trigger additional grant assistance through FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program, administered by the state of California.
  • Some of these additional FEMA grants could include reimbursement for lost personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage expenses.​

Survivors referred to the Small Business Administration must apply with SBA even if they feel they cannot afford or do not want a loan in order to receive some FEMA assistance.

Whether a loan is wanted or not, the SBA loan application may trigger additional grant assistance through FEMA’s Other Needs Assistance (ONA) program, administered by the state of California.

Some of these additional FEMA grants could include reimbursement for lost personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, moving and storage expenses.​

Onsite septic systems have most of their functional components below ground and are typically more resistant to fire damage. However, it is important to inspect the aboveground electrical and plumbing system for damage to PVC piping that may have been impacted by heat. If your wastewater disposal system has been damaged, or if your system is backing up or malfunctioning, discontinue use and contact Permit Sonoma 707-565-2849 or visit: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Eng-and-Constr/Well-and-Septic/

If water quality is compromised, your water supplier is required to notify you with a “Boil Water Notice”, “Do Not Drink Water Notice” or a “Do Not Use Water Notice.” If you receive a boil water notice, do not drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. If under a Boil Water Notice, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further notice, as boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

  • Your drinking water is safe. The water quality of municipal drinking water is continuously monitored and tested to ensure it meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards.
  • The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) supplies water to more than 600,000 residents who live in the cities of Santa Rosa, Windsor, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma, Sonoma, North Marin Water District, Valley of the Moon Water District, and California-American Water.
  • The Water Agency is actively monitoring the watershed for any potential changes in water quality. To date, the Water Agency hasn’t seen any water quality issues associated with the recent wildfires.
  • Your water utility may supplement water supply with other local sources. For more information on drinking water quality in your neighborhood, visit www.sonomacountywater.org/water-quality.

Air quality will be variable while there are active fires in the region and shifting winds. Children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease are most impacted.

To decrease your exposure to wildfire smoke and to limit harmful effects from smoke follow these healthy habits:

  • Limit your time outside and stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If possible, seek shelter in buildings with filtered air OR move to areas outside the region less impacted by wildfire smoke until smoke levels subside.
  • Keep your windows and doors closed unless it’s extremely hot outside. If you don’t have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.
  • Run your home or car air conditioner on recycle or recirculate. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.

Private well water is not regulated by any government agency. Although your well water may taste and smell fine, the only way to know your well water is safe is by testing it.  It is the responsibility of the individual property owner to ensure that their drinking water supply is safe by having the well water tested by a state certified laboratory. View a list of Laboratories that can perform these tests on the County of Sonoma Environmental Health & Safety website.

When we experience a disaster, people react with increased anxiety, worry and anger. With community and family support, most of us bounce back. Some of us, however, may need extra assistance to cope with unfolding events and uncertainties. Everyone, even the people that others look up to for guidance and assistance, is entitled to their feelings and deserves support throughout the recovery process.

If you or someone in your care needs additional assistance recovering emotionally from the fires, please reach out to: American Red Cross 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline: (800) 985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

More information can be found here.

Notices to the following locations remain in effect:

  • Do Not Drink and Do Not Boil Water Notices
  • Do Not Drink Water notices
    • California American Water, Larkfield
      • For Cal American Do Not Drink orders visit their Alerts page. 
    • Safari West
    • Bennett Ridge MWC
  • Boil Water notices
    • End-O-Valley Mutual Water Company
  • No Service
    • Wilshire Heights MWC
    • URJ Camp Newman
    • Riebli MWC
    • Petrified Forest
    • Michelle MWC
    • Mark West Acres MWC
    • Heights MWC
    • Arrowood Vineyards & Winery
    • Paradise Ridge Winery
    • Redwood Adventist Academy
    • Journey’s End MHP

Do not drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further notice. This is the preferred method to assure that the water is safe to drink. Optional alternative to include for prolonged situations where it fits.

An alternative method of disinfection for residents that are not able to boil their water is to use fresh, unscented, liquid household bleach. To do so, add 8 drops (or 1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water, mix thoroughly, and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before using. A chlorine-like taste and odor will result from this disinfection procedure and is an indication that adequate disinfection has taken place.

  • In collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Water Agency has developed a water quality monitoring program to assess the potential impacts to the Water Agency’s drinking water facilities resulting from the wildfires.
  • Data collected from this program will also be helpful in assessing potential impacts to other water supply systems within and downstream of the affected areas, as well as potential ecosystem effects.
  • To protect our drinking water system, multiple local agencies are working together to prevent fire-related debris, pollutants and sediment from burned areas from being carried into our storm drains, creeks and rivers.

Here are suggestions:

Message, text or email them your love and concern. Short and sweet: “I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m so glad you are alive.” “I love you” is nice too.

Listen. Everyone’s experience of this tragedy is be different. It helps when someone simply listens to how it is for her or him. Don’t offer advice or stories about others’ loss: just listen.

Send a gift card or offer financial help: Your friends are going to be spending money for to meet so many needs. Grocery stores and restaurants cards are especially useful, since insurance claims take time to process, even in the best of times.

Make a meal or shop for groceries. Food is comforting and vital to help tired people. Your friends may not want company, but a meal may be welcome. Your contribution helps even if your friends are being staying with loved ones.

Ask to run errands or drive them. Deliver right to their door. If they want to do their own shopping, having you chauffeur can take some pressure off.

Ask children what they need. Is there a game or toy a child is missing because of the fire? Deliver that to the family. Helping the children helps the family.

Be there for the months ahead. Rebuilding after this disaster is going to take time. It’s important to be there for your friends now and in the future. All the kindnesses and caring actions above will help for a long time to come.

Onsite septic systems have most of their functional components below ground and are typically more resistant to fire damage. However, it is important to inspect the aboveground electrical and plumbing system for damage to PVC piping that may have been impacted by heat. If your wastewater disposal system has been damaged, or if your system is backing up or malfunctioning, discontinue use and contact Permit Sonoma 707-565-2849 or visit: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/PRMD/Eng-and-Constr/Well-and-Septic/

If water quality is compromised, your water supplier is required to notify you with a “Boil Water Notice”, “Do Not Drink Water Notice” or a “Do Not Use Water Notice.” If you receive a boil water notice, do not drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. If under a Boil Water Notice, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further notice, as boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

  • Your drinking water is safe. The water quality of municipal drinking water is continuously monitored and tested to ensure it meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water standards.
  • The Sonoma County Water Agency (Water Agency) supplies water to more than 600,000 residents who live in the cities of Santa Rosa, Windsor, Rohnert Park, Cotati, Petaluma, Sonoma, North Marin Water District, Valley of the Moon Water District, and California-American Water.
  • The Water Agency is actively monitoring the watershed for any potential changes in water quality. To date, the Water Agency hasn’t seen any water quality issues associated with the recent wildfires.
  • Your water utility may supplement water supply with other local sources. For more information on drinking water quality in your neighborhood, visit www.sonomacountywater.org/water-quality.

Air quality will be variable while there are active fires in the region and shifting winds. Children, the elderly and those with respiratory conditions such as asthma, lung disease and heart disease are most impacted.

To decrease your exposure to wildfire smoke and to limit harmful effects from smoke follow these healthy habits:

  • Limit your time outside and stay indoors as much as possible.
  • If possible, seek shelter in buildings with filtered air OR move to areas outside the region less impacted by wildfire smoke until smoke levels subside.
  • Keep your windows and doors closed unless it’s extremely hot outside. If you don’t have an air conditioner, staying inside with the windows closed may be dangerous in extremely hot weather. In these cases, seek alternative shelter.
  • Run your home or car air conditioner on recycle or recirculate. Keep the fresh air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent bringing additional smoke inside.

Private well water is not regulated by any government agency. Although your well water may taste and smell fine, the only way to know your well water is safe is by testing it.  It is the responsibility of the individual property owner to ensure that their drinking water supply is safe by having the well water tested by a state certified laboratory. View a list of Laboratories that can perform these tests on the County of Sonoma Environmental Health & Safety website.

Notices to the following locations remain in effect:

  • Do Not Drink and Do Not Boil Water Notices
  • Do Not Drink Water notices
    • California American Water, Larkfield
      • For Cal American Do Not Drink orders visit their Alerts page. 
    • Safari West
    • Bennett Ridge MWC
  • Boil Water notices
    • End-O-Valley Mutual Water Company
  • No Service
    • Wilshire Heights MWC
    • URJ Camp Newman
    • Riebli MWC
    • Petrified Forest
    • Michelle MWC
    • Mark West Acres MWC
    • Heights MWC
    • Arrowood Vineyards & Winery
    • Paradise Ridge Winery
    • Redwood Adventist Academy
    • Journey’s End MHP

Do not drink the water without boiling it first. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one (1) minute, and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking and food preparation until further notice. This is the preferred method to assure that the water is safe to drink. Optional alternative to include for prolonged situations where it fits.

An alternative method of disinfection for residents that are not able to boil their water is to use fresh, unscented, liquid household bleach. To do so, add 8 drops (or 1/8 teaspoon) of bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops (or 1/4 teaspoon) per gallon of cloudy water, mix thoroughly, and allow it to stand for 30 minutes before using. A chlorine-like taste and odor will result from this disinfection procedure and is an indication that adequate disinfection has taken place.

  • In collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Water Agency has developed a water quality monitoring program to assess the potential impacts to the Water Agency’s drinking water facilities resulting from the wildfires.
  • Data collected from this program will also be helpful in assessing potential impacts to other water supply systems within and downstream of the affected areas, as well as potential ecosystem effects.
  • To protect our drinking water system, multiple local agencies are working together to prevent fire-related debris, pollutants and sediment from burned areas from being carried into our storm drains, creeks and rivers.

No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year value if the restructure is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the base year value at its full market value.

No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year value if the house is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the Proposition 13 factored base year value at its full market value.

As of November 7th, there are no more temporary shelters open. If you’re in need of housing, please visit:
https://www.sonomacountyrecovers.org/housing-opportunities/

Yes. Please contact your mortgage company immediately for guidance on how your lender will handle the payment of your property taxes and the subsequent revision to the balance due.

Airbnb Open Homes program: Airbnb has launched its Open Homes program for those seeking shelter free-of-charge due to the fires. Anyone with available housing in Northern California can open their homes to displaced neighbors and relief workers for free from October 8, 2017 to October 30, 2017.

For properties within unincorporated Sonoma County, visit the County building department.

For properties within the City of Santa Rosa, visit their building division.

The County Assessor will process Calamity Damage Reassessments as quickly as possible. Please be patient with the process. Once we have determined your new assessed value you will receive a “Notice of Correction to the 601 Assessment Roll” informing you of the new assessment. If you do not receive this notice by December 31, 2017, please contact the Sonoma County Assessor’s office.

Maybe. The Tax Collector is making every effort to intercept payments on properties that were affected by the fires, but we may not be able to intercept them all. You can help by sending an email to taxcollector@sonoma-county.org, stating that you recently sent a tax payment on a home or structure that was destroyed by fire.  Include the following information in your email:

  • Your name
  • Assessor Parcel Number (APN)
  • Property address
  • Date payment was mailed
  • Check number
  • Amount of payment

You could also a Stop Payment on your check, if it has not yet been cashed.

Yes. You should consider paying off the SCEIP lien with proceeds from your insurance claim. Make sure your insurance company itemizes the loss of your SCEIP improvements separately, so you can account for that loss.

Yes. If your business personal property or vessel suffered damage of $10,000 or more, you are eligible for property tax relief. Please complete a Calamity Damage Reassessment application for the Assessor’s office to review.

No. By law to receive an adjusted value due to a calamity such as fire, the damage to the structure must be at least $10,000. If you have structural damage at or above that amount, please fill out a Calamity Damage Reassessment application.

Please contact Housing and Community Development at (800)-952-8356.

Property owners have the option to pay the first installment of the original tax bill or wait until a revised tax bill is issued.  A reassessment will result in the issuance of a revised 2017-18 property tax bill and property owners will have a minimum of 30 days to pay the first installment without penalty.  There may be an income tax advantage to paying the original tax bill by December 31, 2017, so check with your tax professional to determine what is best for your situation.

If your registered firearm was destroyed in the fire the Department of Justice (DOJ) requires you to complete and return a “No Longer in Possession” form (BOF 4546 form) even if you have already filed a claim with your insurance company. It is the owner’s responsibility to report the loss to the DOJ. This form is available online here:  https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/firearms/forms/BOF4546NLIP0209.pdf

Please contact the State Controller Property Tax Postponement office at:
(800) 952-5661, or email postponement@sco.ca.gov.

After the new reassessment is enrolled by the Assessor, a revised bill with a reduced 2nd installment, or a refund will be issued by the County Auditor-Controller for the difference.

Contact your mortgage lender for guidance on how your lender will handle property tax payments and subsequent revisions tom your impound account.

Please contact the State Controller Property Tax Postponement office at:
(800) 952-5661, or email postponement@sco.ca.gov.

The Assessor maintains building sketches for most properties. If you are the property owner, or an authorized agent, who has completed our Authorization to Access Confidential Files form, you may be able to get a copy of that document.

The Assessor is working with Cal Fire and other county departments to identify all properties with over $10,000 in structure damage.  The information we obtain from other agencies will aid us in applying large-scale property tax reductions without taxpayers needing to file paperwork with our offices.  However, if you prefer, you may choose to complete a “Calamity Damage Reassessment” application and submit it to the County Assessor.

For more information visit: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/EOC-and-PIO/Fires-October-2017/Property-Taxes/

Delinquent property taxes relate to property taxes that were incurred before the fires, therefore they will not change and must be paid. Please contact the Tax Collector’s office for payment plan options.

After you receive the “Notice of Correction to the 601 Assessment Roll” from the County Assessor informing you of the proposed reassessment, a new tax bill reflecting the reduction in value will be issued by the County Tax Collector within approximately 45 days of that notice.

Visit this page for links to various third-party platforms with rental housing listings.

No. There is not a provision to extend property tax dues dates or waive penalties for property that was not damaged or destroyed by fire. Low income senior citizens, blind or disabled property owners may be eligible for the State Controller’s Property Tax Postponement Program postponement@sco.ca.gov.

No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year value if the restructure is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the base year value at its full market value.

No. Property owners will retain their previous factored base year value if the house is rebuilt in a like or similar manner, regardless of the actual cost of construction. However, any new square footage or extras, such as additional baths, will be added to the Proposition 13 factored base year value at its full market value.

Yes. Please contact your mortgage company immediately for guidance on how your lender will handle the payment of your property taxes and the subsequent revision to the balance due.

The County Assessor will process Calamity Damage Reassessments as quickly as possible. Please be patient with the process. Once we have determined your new assessed value you will receive a “Notice of Correction to the 601 Assessment Roll” informing you of the new assessment. If you do not receive this notice by December 31, 2017, please contact the Sonoma County Assessor’s office.

Maybe. The Tax Collector is making every effort to intercept payments on properties that were affected by the fires, but we may not be able to intercept them all. You can help by sending an email to taxcollector@sonoma-county.org, stating that you recently sent a tax payment on a home or structure that was destroyed by fire.  Include the following information in your email:

  • Your name
  • Assessor Parcel Number (APN)
  • Property address
  • Date payment was mailed
  • Check number
  • Amount of payment

You could also a Stop Payment on your check, if it has not yet been cashed.

Yes. You should consider paying off the SCEIP lien with proceeds from your insurance claim. Make sure your insurance company itemizes the loss of your SCEIP improvements separately, so you can account for that loss.

Yes. If your business personal property or vessel suffered damage of $10,000 or more, you are eligible for property tax relief. Please complete a Calamity Damage Reassessment application for the Assessor’s office to review.

No. By law to receive an adjusted value due to a calamity such as fire, the damage to the structure must be at least $10,000. If you have structural damage at or above that amount, please fill out a Calamity Damage Reassessment application.

Please contact Housing and Community Development at (800)-952-8356.

Property owners have the option to pay the first installment of the original tax bill or wait until a revised tax bill is issued.  A reassessment will result in the issuance of a revised 2017-18 property tax bill and property owners will have a minimum of 30 days to pay the first installment without penalty.  There may be an income tax advantage to paying the original tax bill by December 31, 2017, so check with your tax professional to determine what is best for your situation.

Please contact the State Controller Property Tax Postponement office at:
(800) 952-5661, or email postponement@sco.ca.gov.

After the new reassessment is enrolled by the Assessor, a revised bill with a reduced 2nd installment, or a refund will be issued by the County Auditor-Controller for the difference.

Contact your mortgage lender for guidance on how your lender will handle property tax payments and subsequent revisions tom your impound account.

Please contact the State Controller Property Tax Postponement office at:
(800) 952-5661, or email postponement@sco.ca.gov.

The Assessor maintains building sketches for most properties. If you are the property owner, or an authorized agent, who has completed our Authorization to Access Confidential Files form, you may be able to get a copy of that document.

The Assessor is working with Cal Fire and other county departments to identify all properties with over $10,000 in structure damage.  The information we obtain from other agencies will aid us in applying large-scale property tax reductions without taxpayers needing to file paperwork with our offices.  However, if you prefer, you may choose to complete a “Calamity Damage Reassessment” application and submit it to the County Assessor.

For more information visit: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/EOC-and-PIO/Fires-October-2017/Property-Taxes/

Delinquent property taxes relate to property taxes that were incurred before the fires, therefore they will not change and must be paid. Please contact the Tax Collector’s office for payment plan options.

After you receive the “Notice of Correction to the 601 Assessment Roll” from the County Assessor informing you of the proposed reassessment, a new tax bill reflecting the reduction in value will be issued by the County Tax Collector within approximately 45 days of that notice.

No. There is not a provision to extend property tax dues dates or waive penalties for property that was not damaged or destroyed by fire. Low income senior citizens, blind or disabled property owners may be eligible for the State Controller’s Property Tax Postponement Program postponement@sco.ca.gov.

The County Assessor will process Calamity Damage Reassessments as quickly as possible. Please be patient with the process. Once we have determined your new assessed value you will receive a “Notice of Correction to the 601 Assessment Roll” informing you of the new assessment. If you do not receive this notice by December 31, 2017, please contact the Sonoma County Assessor’s office.

The Assessor is working with Cal Fire and other county departments to identify all properties with over $10,000 in structure damage.  The information we obtain from other agencies will aid us in applying large-scale property tax reductions without taxpayers needing to file paperwork with our offices.  However, if you prefer, you may choose to complete a “Calamity Damage Reassessment” application and submit it to the County Assessor.

For more information visit: http://sonomacounty.ca.gov/EOC-and-PIO/Fires-October-2017/Property-Taxes/

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