One thousand of 14,232 properties in three counties have, so far, been cleared of hazardous household waste so that fire-related debris can be removed.

One thousand sixty-five fire personnel worked tirelessly to successfully contain 100 percent of the fires by December 2018.

Today, all of the fall wildfires in California have been put out after the area recently received a good dose of much needed rain. But the rain also brought new challenges for homeowners who were affected by the fires.

“The rain makes it very difficult to sift the ashes,” said Don and Gert Vos. “After it gets wet, the ash is almost like cement.” The Vos’s, who live in northern California, are regional managers for World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS).

Fire-affected residents are gradually being allowed back into their neighborhoods to go through their belongings. Those who enter the burned areas must pass through a checkpoint and wear protective clothing from head-to-toe. The hazardous waste in the debris must be disposed of by workers that are trained to handle them.

For now, local agencies and FEMA representatives are continuing to secure temporary housing for the thousands of residents who lost their homes.

Many residents will have to decide if they are going to wait out their loss and rebuild their home if they can, or if they will just move elsewhere and start over. It will take several years for the estimates and decisions to be settled.

Gert and Don Vos are representing World Renew DRS in the recovery efforts for the community of Paradise, which was almost completely destroyed by the Camp Fire.

Specializing in long-term recovery, World Renew DRS focuses on supporting local recovery efforts by offering knowledge and expertise, as well as hands-on services such as home construction and needs assessments.

Would you like to volunteer to help with disaster response? Visit to learn more.

Credit for Header and Body photo: FEMA Photos/Robert Baker, Paradise, California Nov 26, 2018


To support World Renew DRS in responding to the needs of people affected by the wildfires, donate online.

Checks marked “California Wildfires” can be mailed to:

World Renew Canada
3475 Mainway
Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8
or call (800) 730-3490

World Renew US
1700 28th St SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508
or call (800) 552-7972