What To Expect After a Wildfire

Before returning home ALWAYS check with officials before attempting to return to your home. Returning to your residence requires a lot of investigative work. Please use the checklists below to ensure that your home is a safe place to live, before moving back in. Check the:

  • Grounds for hot spots, smoldering stumps, and vegetation.
  • Roof and exterior areas of your house and structures for sparks or embers.
  • Attic and throughout your house for any hidden burning sparks or embers. Any small ‘live’ embers can restart the fire. Thorough inspection is crucial.
  • Fire damage to your home, turn off all appliances and make sure the meter is not damaged before turning on the main circuit breaker.
  • Well or pump-house to ensure it is in working order. Clean running water is essential and should be inspected immediately after its determined that there are no warm embers from the fire.

If you do find any issues, call 911 and ask them to handle the issue. Consult local experts on the best way to restore and plant your land with fire safe land scaping.

Watershed Impacts After a Wildfire

The negative impact that a wildfire can have on watershed can have short and long term effects. Erosion and runoff can increase to dangerous levels following wildfires in California. This includes creating new natural paths for water due to plants and trees being removed. Trees, shrubs, grass and other protective groundcover help prevent soil erosion and allow rainfall to seep into the soil. After a wildfire the extreme heat can bake the soil to the point that water is unable to penetrate. This can cause an aggregation of water in a post wildfire area leading to flooding, endangering your house, property and livestock.

Ensure that local authorities will implement post-fire suppression repair efforts. This work includes:

  • Placing waterbars on dozer firelines.
  • Restoring road drainage infrastructure
  • Treating/reducing felled trees near towns and roadways.
  • Repairing damaged structures and waterways that were impacted by fire suppression activities.
  • Addressing public safety issues, such as flagging/marking hazards to roads or structures for removal by professionals.

Following selected wildfires, California state Watershed Emergency Response Teams are deployed to conduct post-fire assessments. Despite these efforts by various agencies, post fire communities are at risk and should be prepared for floods, and surface erosion. It is important to be vigilant, despite the exhausting journey of enduring displacement due to fire, and returning home.

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