Category Archives: Fire Main

City of Ventura offers parcel record packets to fire victims

City of Ventura residents whose property was damaged or destroyed by the Thomas Fire will be able to pick up a parcel record packet for their property. The City of Ventura Community Development Department has compiled all records for parcels with homes or structures that were damaged or destroyed. This information may assist homeowners with filing insurance claims and beginning the rebuild process.

Packets will include:

  • Building Permit Records
  • Including historic building permits and/or planning permits
  • (Please note that packets will not include copyrighted plans or calculations/reports.)
  • Property Zoning Information
  • Subdivision Tract Information, if applicable.

Property owners (with identification) may pick up their individualized packet at Ventura City Hall located at 501 Poli Street, Ventura during City Hall business hours in room 124 (lower level, West wing). Residents may also request an electronic version of the parcel packet by emailing their request to CDTR@cityofventura.ca.gov. The City of Ventura is committed to supporting the recovery and rebuilding process for property owners.

Free masks are available

N-95 masks require a tight seal to be effective.

Due to continuing unhealthy air conditions resulting from the Thomas Fire, free particulate respirators (N-95 masks) are being distributed as part of a coordinated effort of the Ventura County Public Health Department, Emergency Medical Services Agency, various County agencies, City government and multiple community based organizations. To date, over 500,000 face masks have been distributed throughout Ventura County. The sites that will distribute masks are available and update routinely on readyventuracounty.org and current locations are listed below.

  • Ventura County Fair – Red Cross Shelter, 10 W. Harbor Blvd
  • EP Foster Library, 651 E. Main St. Ventura
  • Beth Torah Temple, 7620 Foothill Road
  • Barranca Vista Center, 7050 Ralston Street
  • Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main Street
  • Hill Road Library, 1070 S. Hill Road
  • Saticoy Library, 1292 Los Angeles Avenue
  • San Jon Yard, 336 San Jon Road
  • City Hall, 501 Poli St. (entrance at back parking lot)
  • Academic Family Medicine Center, 3291 Loma Vista Road, Building 340, Suite 201
  • West Ventura Medical Clinic, 133 W Santa Clara St
  • Ventura County Health Care Agency, 5851 Thille St
  • Ventura County Health Care Agency, 2323 Knoll Dr # 414

Please note that the N-95 masks require a tight seal to be effective and as a result the available adult sized masks will provide only limited protection for most children. N-95 masks when fitted properly provide some protection from the fine particles in smoke. Ordinary dust masks and surgical masks do not provide this protection. Limited quantities of small masks are being distributed to locations that are more likely to have a concentration of children. When properly worn, these masks should provide a tighter seal for a child’s smaller face. Please note, that only limited quantities of these masks are available. Masks are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be available as supplies last.

Declaration of local health emergency

On December 8, due to potential widespread toxic exposures and threats to public health and the environment that exist in the aftermath of a major wildfire disaster, the Ventura County Public Health Officer declared a Local Health Emergency to limit the public’s exposure to hazardous substances.

This Declaration enables the State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to survey damaged properties and remove household hazardous wastes at no cost to property owners. It also enables property owners to participate in a voluntary Fire Debris Clearance program administered through the State Office of Emergency Services (OES) and CalRecycle.

The Declaration applies in the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Ventura County impacted by the Thomas Fire and provides the following:

  1. No removal of fire debris shall occur from properties without a hazardous material inspection conducted by either the EPA or DTSC. This does not include the removal of personal property from residential sites.
  2. No debris bins shall be provided to property owners for the purposes of fire debris removal without the authorization of the Ventura County Environmental Health Division.
  3. Property owners that opt out of the Fire Debris Clearance Program must obtain permission from the Ventura County Environmental Health Division before beginning the removal of fire debris to ensure the private debris removal, transport, and disposal is conducted in a manner that does not endanger the community.

The public is advised that the combustion of building materials such as siding, roofing tiles, and insulation can create dangerous ash and dust particles that may contain asbestos, heavy metals, and other hazardous substances. Household hazardous substances such as paint, gasoline, cleaning products, pesticides, compressed gas

cylinders, and chemicals may have been stored in homes, garages, or sheds that may have burned or released in the fire, also producing hazardous substances. Exposure to these substances when residents search through debris for personal items, and during fire debris removal activities may lead to acute and chronic health effects, and may cause long-term public health and environmental impacts.

The County Environmental Health Division is currently working with the DTSC to gather more information about the state program and the timing of its operation in Ventura County. As information is gathered, it will be posted along with other recovery

information on the County’s venturacountyrecovers.org web site. In addition, if property owners with fire debris on their property would like to receive debris removal information directly as it becomes available, they may register via the venturacountyrecovers.org web site.

Instructions for dealing with ash

If your home was impacted by the Thomas Fire, here are some health precautions to take after you return home and before you begin the clean- up process.

If a structure on your property was destroyed during the recent fire, then you must wait for the proper authorities to approve and direct your clean-up. However, many people evacuated their home and later returned to find their house intact. Often, a significant amount of ash can be found on and around your home. People in this latter situation do not need permission to clean up their property.

Do not advise ash clean-up while ash is still falling and the situation is unpredictable. Wait until conditions improve.

Avoid skin contact with ash. Ash from burned homes and other items will likely contain metals, chemicals, and potentially asbestos, items that may be considered toxic if breathed in or touched with wet skin. If you do get ash on your skin, wash it off immediately. Some wet ash can cause chemical burns.

Inhaled ash may be irritating to the nose, throat and lungs. In order to avoid possible health problems, the following steps are recommended.

Avoid doing activities that stir up ash. Do not allow children to play in ash or be in an area where ash-covered materials are being disturbed. Wash ash off toys before children play with them.

Clean ash off pets.

Wear a tight fitting N95 respirator mask, gloves, boots, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when cleaning up ash.

Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Avoid sweeping it up dry. Use water and wet cloth or mop to clean items and surfaces.

Under any circumstances, do not use leaf blowers!

If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to smoke or soot, consult your doctor. Symptoms include repeated coughing, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, headaches and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.

County launches rental assistance program for fire victims

The County of Ventura Board of Supervisors has approved the use of $500,000 in General Fund to establish a rental assistance program for eligible residents who cannot return to their homes due to the impact of local wildfires.  The program, which expands upon current rental assistance programs for low-income households administered by the County of Ventura Human Services Agency, will began accepting applications Wednesday, December 13th

Eligibility criteria for the program include:  county residency; displacement from housing due to local wildfires; financial ability to maintain housing after receiving assistance; and a household income up to 120% of the median income for the local area, based on household size.  The yearly income limit for a household of one person, for example, is $84,000.  For a household of two, the income limit is $96,000, and for a household of four, the income limit is $119,880.

 “Short term rental assistance will help our lower and middle income neighbors who lost their homes get back on their feet more quickly,” said Steve Bennett, County Supervisor for the First District. “Individuals and families with children need the stability of a home to regain some normalcy in their lives and return to work or school while they make longer term plans.”

The new program may offer eligible fire victims help with:  interim housing, rental payments, replacement of household and personal items, moving and storage costs, rental deposits, utility deposits and payments, and credit counseling, as needed.  Barry Zimmerman, Human Services Agency Director stated, “We have years of experience running similar programs successfully, so we can implement this one quickly and ensure that assistance begins to flow.”

Beginning Wednesday, December 13th, information about applying for this new program may be found in English and Spanish on the Ventura County Recovers website, which provides a comprehensive source of information for all matters relating to fire recovery, and on the Ventura County Human Services Agency’s web site (www.vchsa.org/help).

Ventura County Recovers: www.VenturaCountyRecovers.org

Human Services Agency:  www.vchsa.org/help

Ventura County and City of Ventura open “One-Stop” Local Assistance Center at Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura

On Wednesday, December 13, the County of Ventura and the City of Ventura will open a Local Assistance Center at the Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura. Located at 3451 Foothill road in Ventura, the center is a one-stop resource for residents affected by the Thomas Fire.

The Local Assistance Center will be open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the next two weeks, and longer if necessary. The hours are subject to change depending on demand. Bilingual staff will be available to provide assistance.

The center will be staffed by representatives from the County of Ventura, the City of Ventura, and nine state agencies, including the Department of Motor Vehicles. The County is also working on providing additional service centers in the Ojai and Santa Clara Valley areas for social, health care and permitting services. The Local Assistance Center is a short-term facility and will close after the initial recovery period, but the services will remain available at the normal city and county offices.

Residents will be able to use the Local Assistance Center to start their recovery from the fire. There will be information on debris removal, permits, housing, rental assistance, vital records, property assessments, public assistance, crisis intervention and stress management, and even services such as replacing driver’s licenses. Health care resources will be available on site to provide assistance, education, and connections to other health services in the community.

The center is expected to be very busy and, although walk-ins will be welcomed, appointments are strongly encouraged. Residents with appoints will receive priority service. Appointments can be made on the Ventura County Recovers website or by calling 211. Those requiring transportation to the center can call the hotline at (805) 465-6650.

To further aid fire victims, Ventura County Recovers is now offering a registration feature that allows residents to register their contact information to receive information on specific topics. They can also register the address of their damaged or destroyed property so that officials can proactively provide them with information and official notices related to the rebuilding process.

Because there will be numerous updates to the site as new information becomes available, registering on the site will help to ensure that current information gets to the people who need it most.

The registration feature is fully accessible by mobile, tablet and desktop devices.

Free ads in the Breeze Dec. 20 issue if related to fire information.

In the Dec.20 issue of the Ventura Breeze we will post for free any fire related information that might help Venturan’s. Such as what your needs are? What you have to give others? Volunteering to help others, looking for a place to rent, have a place to rent or to share. No retail businesses please just folks helping each other during these awful times.

Send information to editor@venturabreeze.com.

Ventura County United Way, American Red Cross and Sheriff’s Office team up to create Thomas Fire Fund

The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services have teamed up to create the Thomas Fire Fund. The Thomas Fund, where 100% of your donations will support those in our community affected by the wildfire. To donate: Text “UWVC” to 41444, go to www.vcunitedway.org or call 805 485 6288. Checks may also be sent to United Way’s at 702 County Square Dr. Ste. 100 Ventura, CA 93003