Property owners are responsible for the cleanup of their property, and in many cases there may be insurance coverage for this cleanup. Please check with your insurance provider for your policy details about cleanup. Cleanup includes the removal of all hazardous vegetative debris, yard and household debris, and remaining structural elements including foundations that cannot be reused due to damage. A foundation must be evaluated by a Colorado Licensed Structural Engineer if you wish to try and re-use it.
Boulder County has curated a list of possible local contractors (this list is not a complete list of available contractors).
Foundation Evaluation & Removal
Wildfire usually destroys the structural integrity of structure foundations. Evaluation of the foundation should occur concurrently with property clean up so it can be removed with other debris if it is not usable. Foundations should be evaluated by a Colorado state licensed engineer, typically a structural engineer, when determining if they can be reused. If the foundation is not reusable it should be removed as part of the property clean up. If the foundation is determined to be intact and structurally sound it may be integrated into the building permit plan set for the new dwelling.
A deconstruction permit from Community Planning & Permitting is required for the removal of structural elements on your property. At times, clean up may also require the installation of temporary electrical service, a permit is required for the installation of temporary electrical service.
Permit applications for deconstruction and for temporary electrical service will be made through Boulder County’s online portal. You will need to register for an account if you don’t already have one.
Once a permit is issued and the work is completed, an inspection is required to close out the permit. Please schedule an inspection by emailing the building inspectors directly at BuildingInspectors@bouldercounty.org.
Foundations may remain in place for one year after initial deconstruction of the standing walls or until April 17, 2022. If a foundation is left in place, safety fencing must be erected around the perimeter of the foundation and mulch placed in disturbed areas to control erosion.
Health & Safety During Cleanup
The health and safety of people is a significant concern when cleaning up structures destroyed by fire due to the nature of the materials that have burned. The State of Colorado is requiring the submittal of a form related to the property clean up and has published a set of guidelines to be followed when undertaking property cleanup:
OWTS a.k.a. Septic
If your tank and/or soil treatment area (leach field) was not damaged, it could be reused if the property is redeveloped. Sewer lines should be capped until ready to be reconnected. Consider having the tank pumped as part of your property clean up.
If the property will not be redeveloped, the septic tank should be properly abandoned. Have the tank pumped and then filled with sand or gravel, remove, or crush and leave in place.
When returning to your property, inspect the area where your septic system is located for signs of damage from fire and traffic from fire-fighting operations. If you feel your septic system may have been damaged, discontinue use until a licensed professional has inspected the system. The system may have been impacted if:
- Plastic piping above ground has melted.
- Evidence of vehicle traffic in the area of the system.
- The raised system was in the direct line of fire (i.e. grass on top is scorched).
- There is damage in the area where the pipes enter the home.
Questions? Contact Boulder County Public Health Water Quality at email@example.com or 303-441-1564.
If you are serviced by a well inspect your wellhead for damage. If there is damage cover the wellhead and contact a well service provider.
If you are serviced by Left Hand Water District they have already removed meters from any properties that were a total loss in these wildfires. You do not need to contact them about disconnecting service.
If you want to restore your service at some point in the future, please contact Left Hand Water directly at 303-530-4200.
If water is supplied by another service provider please contact them directly.