Health & Safety

July 26, 2012

Wildfires — what to do after returning home

By Inspector Ben Lomas
Fort Huachuca Office of Fire Prevention

Last June’s Monument Fire jumped State Route 92 and burned this property when it jumped the highway for a second time. In addition to fire damage, the property owner faces property damage from erosion during monsoon flooding and will have to take measures to prevent future damage.

In this final part of a four-part series on wildland fire survival and preparedness, the Fort Huachuca Office of Fire Prevention shares information on what to do after a wildfire.

 

After returning home …

Once it appears fire danger has passed, fire management officials lift evacuation orders and residents are allowed to return home. Upon returning, there are several things people should do right away in case fire activity took place after firefighters left the area.

Immediately check the roof. Put out any roof fires and snuff out sparks or embers. Check the attic for hidden burning sparks, and thoroughly check the inside of the house. Those with fires still burning should get neighbors to help fight them and call 911.

For several hours after the fire, maintain a “fire watch” and re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the house.

 

Get emergency help

Those in need of emergency assistance should contact the Arizona Division of Emergency Management, 1.800.411.2336 or www.dem.state.az.us, to find out if a local service center for fire victims has been set up nearby. If a fire is declared a state or federal disaster, other agencies and organizations may assist with residents’ immediate needs. However, AZ DEM is still the agency to contact. Local organizations may also set up central locations staffed by personnel from various agencies who can provide emergency assistance or information about obtaining aid.

 

Mapping

Landowners should record the burned areas on a map of their property, even if a majority of the area was left unburned. The map should also show bulldozer lines and areas where trees were cut. The burn map can then be used to plan for rehabilitation measures such as erosion control and replanting, if necessary.

 

Soil erosion common after fires

The most damaging long-term resource impact that can occur after wildfire burns live or dead vegetation is soil erosion. Erosion robs land of its soil and its ability to grow vegetation. Without this protection, detached soil particles can wash down, entering stream channels, reducing water quality and altering or degrading aquatic habitat.

In addition to protecting soil from the force of rain, a litter layer of dead grasses, shrubs, branches and other vegetation matter helps the soil absorb rainwater. In the absence of litter, rain is more likely to hit the soil surface and run off rather than infiltrate the soil, reaching stream channels faster, leading to an increase in the possibility of flooding.

 

Take erosion control measures

A number of erosion-control measures can be taken to lower the soil erosion hazard and protect the land’s productivity and water quality during the first few years after a fire. The goal of these methods is to cover the soil surface to protect it from raindrop impact, to improve the soil’s ability to absorb water and reduce the amount and speed of overland water flow.

The soil can be covered with a mulch or reseeded with a grass that sprouts quickly and has a dense, fibrous root system to bind the soil. For large areas where covering the soil is not economically feasible or will not occur quickly enough, the next step is to control the water running over the soil and carrying the sediment. This can be accomplished by erecting barriers to runoff which slow and disperse the water, reducing its erosive power and allowing it to soak into the ground before reaching a stream course. Do this by piling rocks, placing sandbags and installing straw wattles or other erosion-control devices. When feasible, use a combination of measures for best results.

 
For more information on wildfire preparedness and after-effects, contact the Fort Huachuca office of Fire Prevention, 533.5054.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Eric Hortin, NETCOM

Fort Huachuca’s first CFC Walk designed to heighten awareness

Eric Hortin, NETCOM Soldiers visit one of the Combined Federal Campaign unit coordinator stations to gather information and fill out contribution forms Wednesday after the CFC Awareness Walk at Warrior/Sentinel Field. The 2014 ...
 
 

IMCOM revises overseas tour policy to enhance development opportunities

SAN ANTONIO — A new U.S. Army Installation Management Command (IMCOM) policy, published Tuesday, will open development doors to its general schedule employees in grades nine and above by reducing a backlog of employees past their five-year overseas tour rotations and placing them in stateside positions to create a leadership development cycle. The IMCOM Enhanced...
 
 

Red Ribbon Week held this week on Fort Huachuca

Red Ribbon Week is the oldest and largest drug prevention campaign in the country. Although the start end dates can vary slightly depending on the organization and source, Red Ribbon Week generally takes place the last full week in October, with the weekends before and following the last full week included as appropriate celebration dates....
 

 
Maci Hidalgo

Fort raises domestic violence awareness with open house

Maci Hidalgo During the Domestic Violence Awareness Open House at Army Community Service Oct. 23, Jan Barber, Fort Huachuca’s Family Advocacy Program manager, highlights the resources available to Families and Soldiers, inclu...
 
 

Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center warns of Halloween hazards

TUCSON, Ariz. – As Halloween time nears, personnel at the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center want parents and grandparents to watch for common risks to youth. Glow stick exposures possible Sometimes youngsters break or gnaw on the sticks and come in contact with the “glow.” Fortunately, the colorful liquid is low on the toxicity...
 
 
DoD

USNORTHCOM plans to support response to EBOLA cases in US

The Department of Defense (DOD), at the request of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), announced last weekend that U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) is providing a 30-person medical support team to quickly, effectively and safely respond in the event of additional Ebola cases in the United States. USNORTHCOM is the military’s geographic command...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin