Santiam fires tour

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MARION COUNTY, OR (KPTV) – After massive wildfires ripped through the santiam canyon and ravaged land across the state crews are still working to clean up the wreckage.

On Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality showed FOX 12 the cleanup efforts and what it is doing to remove hazardous debris.

In the Santiam Canyon, between two different fires, nearly 700 homes have been lost to the Beachie Creek and Lionshead Fires.

Though rains and efforts of firefighters have pretty much doused the smoke and flames, the cleanup is well underway.

FEMA, Oregon DEQ, ODOT, and the EPA are working together on this - the EPA has folks on the ground working to remove hazardous material.

There has been a concern of what may be in some of these burnt-out homes, from asbestos to household chemicals.

DEQ and the EPA put a program forward to come in and clean the land free of charge and dispose of the hazardous material left behind.

"The EPA is not coming in with bulldozers and front end loaders to do large-scale debris removal. This is a small quantity, it's handwork, they're getting rid of hazardous waste that even a private contractor would have trouble dealing with," Brian Nicholas, Marion County Works Director, said.

The ash and debris clean up of sites likely won't happen until they can get the hazardous debris all picked up.

The government is still accepting rights of entry, asking people to get them in as earlier as possible so they can better plan the response in different neighborhoods.

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