Sonoma County Wildfires

Update: Tax Relief Information was posted on Jan. 18, 2018. Learn more at

AJD Builders wishes you strength and courage during these challenging times. The recent fires destroyed over 6,000 structures and took almost 30 lives. Having gone through the permitting process for debris removal and new home ground-up builds several times already, we hope the below resources provide you some clarity and guidance through the clean-up and rebuild phase.

Right now, the main decision on everyone's mind has to do with debris removal. You have two options:

  1. Use the state/federal (FEMA) program, or

  2. Work with a qualified contractor

Of course, there are pros & cons to the FEMA program:


  • If private insurance funding is not available to cover private clean up, FEMA will perform work only to insurance company coverage limits and the state will absorb the additional needed funds.

  • FEMA will bill insurance companies directly, owner does not need to be involved with project finances.


  • Ambiguity: No established timelines when FEMA will be performing work. When, where, how long is still very subjective.

  • Slow: FEMA will take longer to clean up sites compared to private contractors, delaying future building plans and permitting.

  • Service: Owners are not allowed to interact with FEMA crews performing cleanup work on owner's property.

  • Quality: FEMA has been known to lack thoroughness cleaning up sites, causing owners to pay for additional clean-up and testing to suffice County/City jurisdictions before building can commence

You can read more about both options by downloading the following overview provided by the City of Santa Rosa Planning & Economic Development:

If you decide to forego the government bureaucracy and long wait times, you will be required to complete the following 1-page opt out form to be submitted—along with a work plan—for fast track approval by Environmental Health. If you decide to work with AJD Builders, we'll be with you every step of the way.

We also encourage you to visit the Cal Fire page which describes tax relief for those affected:

source: sonoma magazine

source: sonoma magazine