2020 Northern Branch Fire Debris and Hazardous Tree Removal

Butte, Lassen, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Yuba counties, Calif.


Submitted By: Sukut Construction, LLC.

Owner: California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Lead Design Firm: Tetra Tech

General Contractor: Sukut Construction, LLC.

Construction Manager: Pacific States Environmental Contractors

Construction Manager: P31 Enterprises

A series of wildfires swept through nine northern California counties in 2020, burning more than 1.6 million acres. To handle the massive clean-up effort, the joint-venture team dealt with a host of coordination and logistical challenges to ensure a safe, efficient and successful operation across such a vast area.

The team was tasked with securing qualified personnel, housing, equipment, trucking, food, fuel and materials at multiple locations. Much of the work was performed in remote areas of rugged terrain and flowing waterways, several of which required temporary bridges up to 140 ft long.

The project spanned two winters and one summer season, with crews working through the extremes of heavy snow and temperatures above 100° F. With several nearby wildfires occurring during the project, the project team had to be alert to poor air quality and other potential hazards to workers. That often meant halting work at some locations until conditions improved to minimize safety risks.

More than 800 field workers contributed to the safe removal of approximately 380,000 tons of metal, concrete, ash, and contaminated soil from 2,100 parcels. In addition, 7,000 burnt vehicles were removed and recycled along with 68,000 hazard trees that were sent to sawmills and biomass facilities.

Comprehensive safety training was also a priority, as many crews worked in areas with limited cellphone service. The project team worked with state agencies to identify areas of network coverage, determine rendezvous points in case of emergencies, establish check-in/check-out procedures and utilize alternative communication channels such as radios and satellite phones.