After the Fire

Once a wildfire has subsided, there is often much to be done to clean up and repair the damage. The resources on this page will guide you through the considerations and steps that those in areas impacted by wildfires will have to deal with.

Reoccupying Homes

These resources include guides and checklists for residents returning home after a fire, a process that involves cleaning up and addressing any damage to the home but also protecting your physical and mental health.

Returning to Your Home
Alberta Health Services provides this guide which covers steps for wearing protective clothing when returning home, reentering your home safely, using water safely, and cleaning up your home, including disposing of spoiled food and interior and exterior surfaces. [pdf; Alberta Health Services, 2016]

Returning Home After a Wildfire
Use this checklist to check the interior, exterior, and surrounding property for damage and hazards after a fire. [pdf; Cal Fire]

After the Fire!
FEMA outlines steps for after a house fire, including interacting with the fire department and replacing valuable documents and records. This document includes a checklist. [pdf; FEMA, 2012]

Picking Up the Pieces After a Fire
This document includes advice about recovering emotionally, checking utilities, and recovering financially. [pdf; American Red Cross, 2003]

Ash Exposure After Fires

Even after a fire is over, lingering ash can pose health risks and needs to be removed properly. These resources will guide you through that process safely.

Indoor Air Quality After a Wildfire
This document includes recommended tips for removing smoke, ash, and soot from homes and some frequently asked questions. [pdf; State of Colorado]

Protect Yourself from Ash
This document provides guidelines for reducing exposure to ash after a fire, including during cleanup. [pdf; EPA]

Protect Your Lungs from Wildfire Smoke or Ash
This guidance provides more detail on using a respirator properly. [pdf; EPA]

Reduce Exposure to Ash When Returning Home After a Fire
This document lists tips for reduce exposure to ash, including when working outside to clean up the area. [pdf; California Department of Public Health, 2017]

Fire Ash in Home Gardens
This document covers suggestions for dealing with ash and debris from fire in gardens. [pdf; California Department of Public Health, 2017]

Repairing and Rebuilding Homes

These resources are for homes with more serious construction and rebuilding needs after a wildfire, whether you are conducting the work yourself or hiring someone to do it. There are also steps you can take to improve your property to mitigate wildfire risk.

Home Builder’s Guide to Construction in Wildfire Zones
This is a series of technical fact sheets about construction in wildfire zones, including selecting a location, defensible space, various parts of the house, and community infrastructure. [pdf; FEMA, 2008]

Homeowner’s Wildfire Mitigation Guide
The University of California hosts this site. Navigate using the sidebar to read about mitigation strategies for roofs, vents, the side of the house, and the surrounding area. The site also includes checklists and publications with more information. [url; University of California]

Wildfire Home Assessment & Checklist
This guide includes information on wildfire mitigation options and a checklist of steps homeowners can use to assess and improve their property. [pdf; Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety]

After the Damage – Who Should Remove the Water?
The Maryland Attorney General’s office provides a brochure about the steps for hiring a restoration company for a home with extensive water damage. [pdf; Maryland Attorney General’s Office]

How to Prepare for a Wildfire
This guide covers how to prepare your property to mitigate fires, as well as being ready for evacuation. [pdf; FEMA]

Firewise USA
Firewise USA is a program for residents to learn about and organize around reducing wildfire risks. Resources available include blogs and eLearning courses. [url; National Fire Protection Agency]