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The Role of the Corps

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is working in partnership with the local, state, and federal response to the November 2018 Northern California wildfire in Butte County. Our number one priority continues to be the life, health and safety of all who were affected by the fires.

USACE has deployed a team of engineers and subject matter experts from across the nation to the California State Emergency Operations Center to support the State and FEMA in the wildfire recovery efforts.

Under its current mission assignments from FEMA, USACE is assisting with the design for temporary housing sites for residents displaced by the fires.

USACE is also developing plans for a temporary debris handling facility that will support the State’s debris removal efforts by staging, reducing and transporting non-hazardous material (concrete and metal) for recycling and disposal.

The California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) is handling the private property debris removal mission. Information about the debris removal program is available by visiting California Wildfire Recovery.Org

image - California Wildfire Response

When disaster strikes

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is prepared and ready to respond to natural and human-made disasters and overseas contingencies. 

When disasters occur, USACE teams and other resources are mobilized from across the country to assist our local districts and offices to deliver our response missions.

  • USACE has more than 50 specially-trained response teams supported by emergency contracts to perform a wide range of public works and engineering-related support missions.
  •  USACE uses pre-awarded contracts that can be quickly activated for missions such as debris removal, temporary roofing, commodities distribution, and generator installation.
  • Every year, USACE, as part of the federal government’s unified national response to disasters and emergencies, deploys hundreds of people to provide technical engineering expertise and to promote capacity development at home and abroad. 
  • In 2017, USACE had 5,731 personnel deployments in response to one or more of 59 disaster declarations.

Temporary Debris Handling Facility

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is proposing to set up a temporary debris handling facility to stage, sort, process, and transfer non-hazardous debris generated from the 2018 Camp Wildfire.

The project proposes to use the Koppers Industrial Site as a Temporary Debris Handling Facility (TDHF) to stage and reduce non-hazardous fire-related debris (e.g., concrete, masonry, vehicles, and other metal materials) from the Town of Paradise and the surrounding communities. Reduced debris, such as crushed concrete and compacted metal material would be transferred to rail cars or trucks for transfer to recycling or disposal areas. The Koppers TDHF would be limited to handling approximately 1-2 million tons of non-hazardous debris. The State of California will be responsible for removing debris from the impacted area and transporting it to the Koppers TDHF. Best management practices and mitigation measures will be implemented throughout operation of the site.  

USACE has prepared this Environmental Assessment (EA) to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act and associated regulations. It is available for public review at Public comments on the Environmental Assessment will be accepted until December 30, 2018.  Comments can be emailed to:

Koppers Temporary Debris Handling Facility EA
Environmental Assessment (Dec. 20, 2018)

News Release: Corps releases Environmental Assessment for proposed Oroville Temporary Debris Handling Facility

Click on image to enlarge above fact sheet. 


At the December 12 City Council meeting, USACE and our partners learned significant information that we did not have available to us when the Barber site was first identified as a Temporary Debris Handling Facility in support of the 2018 Camp Fire Debris Removal Mission.  As a result, the Barber Site is no longer the preferred alternative identified for the location of this element of debris removal. 

Although it is important to complete the debris removal mission in the most expeditious manner possible, safety and the impacts on the local Butte County Community are also important.  USACE is now focusing on identifying and evaluating other locations for the Temporary Debris Handling Facility.

Letter from Col. Eric McFaddon stating USACE will not place Temporary Debris Handling Facility at Barber site.

Click image above to view full-size PDF version.