Wednesday, May 18, 2022
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Wildfire Survivors Urged to Hire Only Licensed Contractors
for Repairs, Debris Clearing or Rebuilding


The following is a press release issued by the Contractors State License Board:

Devastating wildfires have destroyed thousands of structures in California and many survivors must now clear property and start the rebuilding process. The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) urges wildfire survivors to hire only California-licensed contractors to avoid being victimized by unlicensed persons and transient criminals.

Additionally, wildfire debris removal should not be done without first reviewing federal and state options or before consulting local officials. More information is available on the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services website under “debris removal.”

“Disasters bring out the very best in people, with strangers and neighbors helping each other,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. “Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals are drawn to these areas and try to take advantage of vulnerable home and business owners. Wildfire survivors need to be especially cautious about hiring reputable, licensed contractors to repair, rebuild, or clear property.”

A CSLB-issued license is required for any construction job totaling $500 or more in labor and materials. Additionally, it is a felony to contract without a license in a declared disaster area. Licensed contractors have met experience and testing requirements carry a license bond, passed a criminal background check and carry workers’ compensation insurance for employees.

To help survivors, CSLB’s Disaster Help Center webpage offers publications and videos. These include an After a Disaster, Don’t Get Scammed brochure, and a Rebuilding After a Disaster video and fact sheet. All information is also available by calling CSLB’s Disaster Hotline, 800-962-1125, which is staffed Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by calling the automated assistance line at 800-321-CSLB (2752).

“CSLB will aggressively seek those trying to take advantage of wildfire survivors by partnering with local and state agencies to conduct sweeps and undercover enforcement operations in disaster areas,” Fogt said.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor

  • Hire only California-licensed contractors. Ask to see the license. The number must be on all advertisements, contracts and business cards.
  • Check the license number on CSLB’s website or by phone at 800-321-CSLB (2752). Confirm the contractor has workers’ compensation insurance for employees.
  • Create a personalized list of licensed, area contractors using the Find My Licensed Contractor.
  • Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract.
  • Don’t rush into decisions and don’t hire the first contractor who comes along.
  • Don’t pay more than 10 percent down or $1,000—whichever is less.
  • Don’t pay cash, and don’t let the payments get ahead of the work. Only pay for work as it is completed to your satisfaction
  • Keep a job file of all project papers, including correspondence and copies of all payments.
  • Avoid making the final payment until you’re satisfied with the job.
  • In most cases, in a disaster area, consumers have up to seven business days to cancel a contract without penalty.
  • For more information, visit CSLB’s website, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.


  1. The government now bans the barn building tradition this country was built on. Neighbors helping neighbors. Bureaucracy is founded on doing things the right way vs human compassion to do the right thing.
    Bureaucracy destroyed the Roman Empire and in my lifetime the USSR.
    Bureaucracy is a system based on narcissistic need to control everything. Call 911, don’t treat your own medical needs, don’t put out your own fires, don’t self defend, these are all crimes.
    “Yes you who must leave everything that you cannot control
    It begins with your family but soon it comes round for you soul
    Well I’ve been where your hanging and I think I can see how your pinned
    When your not feeling holy your loneliness says that you’ve sinned”
    Leonard Cohen
    Look at how well the government fixes our disasters.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
Educator🔸Reporter for KMUD/ Redheaded Blackbelt/Founder of Cold Case Mendocino🔹Local News Junkie

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