Making Evacuation Less Stressful

Article Written by:
Glenn Nader, University of California Cooperative Extension, Yuba City, CA


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Making Evacuation Less Stressful

Pre-fire planning and taking action ahead of time, including making a list of what to do and what to take with you, is the best way to reduce the potential stress of an evacuation.

Some pre-fire evacuation tasks include:

  • taking a home inventory;
  • developing and discussing a disaster response plan with your household that identifies planned actions, such as:
    • evacuation routes,
    • emergency meeting

Evaluating Damage to Your Home After a Wildfire

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Evaluating damage to your home after a wildfire should be done at the first opportunity. Your insurance agent should be the first person you contact. The agent will be able to tell you how to proceed with a claim. Do not start to clean up or throw away anything until your agent has inspected the damage. Do start taking pictures and video as soon as you arrive back home.

It may be necessary for a construction professional to come and …

Safely Returning to Your Home After a Wildfire

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Safely Returning to Your Home after a Wildfire

Many homeowners wonder when it is safe to return to their homes after a wildfire. Once you are given the “all clear” to go home, what you should look for outside and inside the home to ensure you and your families safety?

In most states, permission to return home after a wildfire is usually given by a local fire or law enforcement authority such as your county sheriff’s office. They deem it …

Why Firefighters Can’t Always Save Every Home


Most fire authorities have priorities in wildfires:

  1. Save lives
  2. Protect improved property
  3. Protect unimproved property (also known as putting out the wildfire)

Firefighters’ first priority is to save lives. This includes the public as well as those fighting the fire. If a home has poor access, lack of escape routes and safety zones or no safe place to fight the fire, then firefighters will not protect that home because it puts their lives at too great of a risk. This …

Reforesting Your Forestland after a Wildfire

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

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One of the first activities most people plan after a burn is reforesting their forestland after a wildfire. Reforestation is the process of establishing a new stand of trees on a previously forested site following a disturbance such as fire. There are two ways to re-establish a stand of trees. Natural regeneration is when you let nature handle the job of revegetating a site with trees, whereas artificial regeneration

Using Barriers to Control Erosion after a Wildfire

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



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Using barriers to control erosion after a wildfire is a common practice. Barriers are installed on hillslopes and in streams to slow water flow, increase infiltration, and trap sediment. There are several types of barriers:

  • Log barriers are anchored on the contour of burned slopes to provide immediate protection. They are often used where erosion rates will be high. This treatment is appropriate for slopes of less than 40

Erosion Potential After A Wildfire


Assessing the erosion potential after a wildfire is an important step of post-fire management. Erosion is a natural process occurring on landscapes at different rates and scales, depending on geology, topography, vegetation, climate and weather, and is defined as the movement of individual soil particles by wind or water. Erosion is a function of the forces available, the amount of protection to the soil surface, the type of the soil and soil stabilizing components such as roots. It is usually …

Grass Seeding to Control Erosion after a Wildfire

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

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Though not the most successful method, grass seeding is the most commonly used treatment to control erosion after a wildfire. Grass seed is applied to burned sites from the ground or by air with the intention of increasing vegetative cover on the site during the first few critical years after a fire and by doing so, decrease or prevent erosion.

Grasses are particularly suited for this purpose because their …

Wildfire and Water Repellent Soils

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



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One common physical change to forest soils after wildfires is water repellency. Water repellent soils have a limited ability to retain or absorb water, which can result in increased erosion, altered substrate water recharge and quicker stream flow delivery with the increased potential for flooding. Wildfires create water repellent layers by partially volatilizing organic compounds in the soil that then condense onto cooler soil particles and form a waxy …

Predicting Mortality in Ponderosa Pine After a Wildfire

Article Written by:
Yvonne Barkley, University of Idaho Extension, Moscow, ID and
David C. Powell, USDA Forest Service

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Ponderosa pine is a large tree, growing to 180 feet in height and three to four feet in diameter and has several common names. Young, vigorously growing ponderosa pines are often called bull or blackjack pines and have dense crowns of deep green foliage and dark brown to black bark. Slower growing, older trees that have developed the characteristic yellow-green foliage and …