Debris Removal

Fire debris, ash and other contaminated materials from burned structures may be hazardous waste and can threaten public health. On November 12, 2018, the County Health Officer issued a Declaration of a Local Health Emergency and Order Prohibiting the Endangerment of the Community through the Unsafe Removal, Transport and Disposal of Fire Debris. The Fire Debris Removal Process is divided into Phase 1 (Hazardous Materials) and Phase 2 (Opt-In or Opt-Out). 

  • Property owners will not be allowed to build on their property until there is a certification that the property cleanup and removal of all hazardous waste has been completed in accordance with applicable standards.
  • City staff is available to assist at Malibu City Hall: 23825 Stuart Ranch Road, Malibu 90265 (Monday - Thursday, 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM. Friday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM)
  • Call LA County Debris Removal Hotline at 626-979-5370 or visit
  1. Phase 2: Opt-Out
  2. Phase 2: Opt-In
  3. Phase 1: HazMat

Property owners who choose to opt-out of the Government-Sponsored debris removal program must participate in Los Angeles County's Local Program. With this option, the property owner is responsible for all expenses and will not be reimbursed with public funds. Either manage the debris removal project yourself or hire a state-certified contractor. The Project Manager (property owner or contractor) must be able to hire all the necessary sub-contractors to remove the debris in accordance with the Local Fire Debris Removal Application and Guidelines.

Steps to Implement Local Fire Debris Removal Program

LA County Debris Removal website

Exemption from Local Fire Debris Requirement Form

Foundation Reuse After Woolsey Fire

Foundation Feasibility Report for Fire Damaged Structures

FAQs Opt-Out (LA County)


Properties that have charred landscaping, but no structural damage are not required to have a HazMat Clearance to remove this type of debris. Charred landscaping on these properties can be placed in green waste bins or removed by a City permitted hauler.

Before removing any trees or Environmentally-Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA), residents must get approval from the City Biologist (Malibu City Hall, Tuesdays, 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM).

Exceptions to obtaining a permit for removing native trees (Western Sycamore, Coast Live Oak, California Black Walnut, Toyon and Alder trees) with a trunk size more than six inches measured at a height of 4.5 feet above the ground:

  • The tree was planted for ornamental purposes as part of an approved Coastal Development Permit and was not required by the LCP or Coastal Act for mitigation or reservation. To check if a Coastal Development Permit was issued, search public records for your property.
  • The tree is threatening health or safety due to risk of falling, where the instability cannot be remedied as determined by a licensed arborist’s report and confirmed by the City Biologist - site inspection required.
  • The tree is destroyed or damaged by natural disaster. A damaged tree shall be exempt only if the general health of the tree is so poor that efforts to its long-term health and survival are unlikely to be successful as determined by an arborist’s report and confirmed by the City Biologist - site inspection required.

Leaf Blowers 

Debris from the fire and damaged structures may contain materials and particulates that are hazardous to health and safety. A temporary ban on using leaf blowers of any type from Malibu Canyon Rd to the western City limits adopted by the City Council expired on August 1, 2019.

Be aware that the City prohibits the use of gas-powered leaf blowers anywhere in Malibu.

Malibu Municipal Code Section 8.24.050 - PROHIBITED ACTS:

(K) Leaf blowers: the use or operation of any portable machine powered with a combustion or gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns and other surfaces; in addition, until August 1, 2019 the use or operation, in the area of the city west of Malibu Canyon Road extending to the western boundary of the city, of any portable machine used to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns and other surfaces including any fire debris.


For properties with OWTS (septic systems), mark the location of your system for your debris removal application. Find information about post-fire septic systems and the Environmental Health Rebuild Process.