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 …

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 …

Wildfire Retardants

Usually seen on the evening news as red cloud being sprayed out of an airplane, fire retardants have been widely used since the late 1950s and are extremely helpful in suppressing wildfire.

There are three classes of fire retardants. Long-term retardants are usually applied with a rotary or fixed-winged aircraft. They are 85 percent water, with 10 percent fertilizer and 5 percent coloring, usually iron oxide. The retardant is dyed for higher visibility over the drop zone. Long-term retardants can …

"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 …