You prepared your house and got out safely. Good work! Now, it’s time to go back home. But flames were only part of the wildfire danger! Keep safety mode activated.
First and foremost, do not go home until the authorities say it’s safe to do so. Don’t go back just because it looks like the fire has passed. Wait for the green light from the experts. You are smart, but smart people do dumb things all the time, so let’s play it safe.
Once the authorities give you the okay, proceed with caution.
If you have kids, don’t bring them with you on the first trip home. Pump the brakes and you might save them some trauma.
Outside your house, keep an eye out for anything that might have been damaged by the fire or could reignite:
- Trees that look like they could fall.
- Unstable power poles or downed lines.
- Ash pits: tree roots that have burned down to hot ash. You don’t want to step into this hole of burnination.
- Hot embers in your gutters or on your roof that could reignite your house.
If things are okay outside, go inside cautiously. Always wear leather gloves and thick-soled shoes when reentering a home after a fire. There could be leftover hot spots.
Regardless of your home’s apparent condition, if you were evacuated due a wildfire, do a thorough check. Examine your house for ashes or smoldering surfaces that could reignite, especially in the attic. If you see any smoke in the attic, leave the house and call 911 right away! There’s a good chance there’s still a fire that could set your whole house ablaze.
Hopefully, all will be well, and you can forget about wildfires for a least a few days. But if you’re in California, get ready for fire season to last all year! Thanks, global warming!
Speaking of smoke, that reminds me of an old friend.