Teams of county, federal and state officials began working their way through neighborhoods affected by the recent Woolsey Fire Monday to assess and remove household hazardous waste from properties burned or damaged in the blaze.
Crews from the county Fire Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state Department of Toxic Substances Control plan to make door-to-door visits about 1,500 properties in the county to assess, remove and dispose of hazardous waste. Yellow placards will be placed at properties that have been cleared of hazardous waste.
"We know people are anxious to return home after the fire," Dr. Muntu Davis, the county's health officer, said in a statement. "Safely removing the remains of everyday hazardous products from damaged properties before people return helps keep them and their environments safe and healthy."
County Fire Chief Daryl Osby noted that remains of products such as paint, household cleaners, batteries and pesticides can become toxic following a fire, and they need to be safely removed so residents can begin rebuilding.
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County officials said residents cannot "opt out" of the inspections, and they do not need to schedule an appointment. Since it's unclear when the crews will reach any particular property, residents were asked to unlock and open gates so crews can access the properties.
Anyone with questions about the waste-removal process can call the county fire department at (323) 890-4000.
Meanwhile, Malibu city officials said an assistance center that was opened Nov. 17 has now been upgraded to a Disaster Recovery Center, with officials from various federal, state and county agencies, along with city Planning and Building Safety staffers and nonprofit groups like the Red Cross.
The center at the former Malibu Courthouse, 23555 Civic Center Way, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Saturday of this week and next week. The center is closed Sundays.
A second assistance center located at the Hilton Foundation, 30440 Agoura Road in Agoura Hills, will change to a Disaster Recovery Center on Wednesday.