"If in Doubt, Throw it Out" – What to do With Food and Medication After a Wildfire

When should food and medications be discarded after a wildfire? The rule of thumb is if in doubt, throw it out. When you return to your home, you should discard any food, beverages, or medications exposed to heat, smoke, or soot. The potency of some medications can be altered by exposure to heat, so check with your doctor before using any prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

Canned goods that are dented, bulging, or rusted or that have been charred or exposed …

Wildfire and Its Effects on Streams and Rivers

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Wildfire affects streams and rivers in a multitude of ways, and the health and wealth of a stream environment are reflections of the condition of the surrounding watershed. Stream ecosystems are constantly changing and are often altered by episodic floods and droughts. Erosion is a natural process. Its effects on a stream are highly variable. Add a high-intensity wildfire, and conditions in the stream or river at the bottom of the hill can change rapidly. All of these naturally occurring …

Wildfire and Wildlife Habitat

Article Written by:
Yvonne Barkley, University of Idaho Extension, Moscow, ID

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The biggest effect wildfire has on wildlife habitat is by altering the three things animals need most: food, water, and shelter. Tender understory plants and shrubs that provide food are lost, and this loss often results in wildlife moving away to areas where food, water, and shelter are more readily available.


Erosion Control after a Wildfire

Erosion is probably one of the most common concerns after a wildfire. Post-fire erosion depends on many factors, but generally erosion hazard increases as slope increases and vegetative cover decreases. To be safe, assume all drainages in steep hilly areas can carry debris flows and that they are vulnerable after a wildfire.


Erosion is a natural process. The amount of erosion after a burn depends on storm events, burn severity, slope, soil type, and the condition of the post-fire …

Exterior Rated Fire Retardant Treated Wood

Article Written by:
Stephen L. Quarles, Senior Scientist, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, Richburg, SC

Using fire-retardant, treated solid wood products that are rated for exterior use is an option for obtaining a wood product that will perform better under wildfire exposures. Products that can be treated with an exterior fire retardant include plywood and lumber siding, dimensional lumber (for use as decking or blocking, for example), and shakes and shingles. These products are available from building suppliers. …


Many people probably think “ignition-resistant” is better than “combustible,” but not as good as “noncombustible.” That would be an accurate assessment. The California Building Code defines ignition-resistant in a specific way – based on meeting a minimum flame spread rating after the material has been subjected to a specified weathering procedure. A material labeled ignition-resistant has passed this test. This ignition-resistant definition is based on the International Building Code requirement for exterior fire-retardant lumber and plywood. An example of an

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Webcast Series

Firescaping – Landscape Design for Wildfire Defensible/Survivable Space

Fire safety must be a major factor in landscape design when homes are built in wildfire-prone areas. Appropriate landscapes can make a significant contribution toward wildfire survival.

What Is Firescaping?

Firescaping is landscape design that reduces the vulnerability of your house and property to wildfire. The goal is to develop a landscape with a design and choice of plants that offer the best defensible, survivable space and enhance the property. The ideal is to surround the house with things that …

Caregivers Should be Prepared for Wildfire

Considerations for Wildfires

If you live in an area prone to wildfires and are a caregiver, you must have a preplanned escape route. In the event that your first route is blocked, you should have a secondary or back-up escape plan. As is the case for all potential disasters, you should have a disaster evacuation kit packed and ready to go at all times.

You must pre-plan how you will be able to get the person you care for out of the house