Gov. Brown signs order allowing EPA to help with cleanup of hazardous waste from wildfires

Gov. Jerry Brown today issued an executive order enabling the federal government to help with the removal of hazardous waste from homes burned in the devastating North Bay fires.

Under the order, professionals from the Environmental Protection Agency can help state and local officials remove such hazardous debris as batteries, flammable liquids, asbestos siding, paint and pipe insulation from burned homes, the governor's office said.

Removing these hazards will help protect public health and the environment, and will allow residents and cleanup crews to enter burned properties more safely, according to the governor's office.

"The (EPA) ... will have the authority to enter private property in all impacted counties to remove debris that may contain hazardous substances, and to conduct any testing appropriate to ensure the hazards are mitigated," the order reads, in part.

The governor visited the fire-ravaged area last Saturday with U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris. Brown last week declared a state of emergency for Solano, Napa, Sonoma, Yuba, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Nevada and Orange counties because of the fires.

Brown also issued an executive order to cut red tape and help streamline recovery efforts last week. He has secured a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support the state and local response to the fires, as well as federal direct aid for residents of Napa, Sonoma, Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Yuba, Orange and Nevada counties who have suffered fire losses.