Returning Home After a Wildfire
Coming home after a wildfire can be difficult. The damage is often unknown until the homeowner returns days or weeks later. Before returning home ALWAYS check with officials before attempting to return to your home. Once home check for the following:
Check grounds for hot spots, smoldering stumps, and vegetation.
Check the roof and exterior areas for sparks or embers.
Check the attic and throughout your house for any hidden burning sparks or embers.
Check for fire damage to your home, turn off all appliances and make sure the meter is not damaged before turning on the main circuit breaker.
Check the well or pump-house to ensure it is in working order.
Watershed Impacts After a Wildfire
The after effects of a wildfire on watershed can be drastic causing immediate issues and long term effects. Rates of erosion and runoff can increase to dangerous levels following wildfires in California. Normally trees, shrubs, grass and other protective groundcover help prevent soil detachment and allow rainfall to infiltrate into the soil. After a wildfire the extreme heat can bake the soil to the point that water is unable to penetrate and can cause excessive run off in a post wildfire area.
Before leaving a burned area, CAL FIRE will implement post-fire repair efforts. This work includes:
Installing waterbars (ditches cut at an angle into the soil)
Removing soil and organic debris from streams where fire lines crossed
Bringing road drainage structures back to pre-fire condition
Removing hazards like burned trees from roads and powerlines
Installing straw-waddle dams on hillsides
Straw-mulching to help stabilize soil and reduce stormwater runoff
Creating structural protection using sandbags and K-walls
Even with these efforts post fire communities are still at risk and need to be prepared for flood, mudslides, debris flow and surface erosion. Here are ways that you can be prepared: