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Smoke Column

Wildfire Outlook: October 2019 – January 2020

Below are summaries from the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, provided by the National Interagency Fire Center, for the period of October 2019 through January 2020. The full outlook can be located here which will give more in depth picture of US fire weather projection.
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Mann Gulch Fire – 70th Anniversary

August 5th, 2019 marked the 70th year anniversary for the Mann Gulch Fire and tragedy. The fire was discovered on August 5th, 1949 after being started by lightning the night before. 15 firefighters jumped into the fire area to try an keep it small, but and were overtaken by the fire when a change in winds caused the canyon to “blow-up” with them in it. The event killed the district ranger and 12 of the 15 firefighters not long after they arrived on the scene.

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Smoke Column

Wildfire Outlook: August – November

Below are exerts from the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, provided by the National Interagency Fire Center, for the period of August through November. The full outlook can be located here which will give more insight from a region by region perspective.

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Doug Lannon and Cal Fire Department

Operation Santa Ana – 20 Year Anniversary

June 2019 marked the 20th year anniversary for Operation Santa Ana. Doug Lannon, a retired Cal Fire Assistant Chief from the San Bernardino Unit and current Senior Wildfire Liaison for RedZone, served as the keynote speaker to kick off the training event for this year’s inspection assignments at the Southern California Edison Inc. Training and Educational Facility.

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Smoke Column

National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook: July – October

Below are exerts from the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook, provided by the National Interagency Fire Center, for the period of June through October. The full outlook can be located here which will give more insight from a region by region perspective.

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GIS and the Fire Service

With the duties assigned to fire agencies becoming more daunting as the population continues to grow, and climatic conditions favor worse fire behavior, the service has adopted GIS as a means to combat these ever changing factors. In this blog, I briefly touch on some of the aspect that GIS software programs have been implemented in the fire service to help mitigate some of the issues related to the disasters they face on a daily basis.

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New PBS Documentary: Inside The Megafire

A recent PBS documentary that aired in early May 2019 details accounts of California residents that fled for their lives during the 2018 fire season. It also extensively looks into extreme wildfire behavior, exploring how forestry practices, climate change, and physics play a role in fire activity.

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Smoke Column

Wildland Fire Potential Outlook: June – September

Below is the synopsis for Significant Wildland Fire Potential for June through September. The full outlook can be located here which will give more insight from a region by region perspective.

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Smoke Column

Wildland Fire Potential Outlook: May, June, July, and August

Below is the synopsis for each geographic region that is referenced in terms of Significant Wildland Fire Potential. The full outlook can be located here which will give more insight into the statements that you see below.

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Smoke Plume.

Smoke: Silent Devastation

Unfortunately for most, after a wildfire has passed is when the real work begins. The wildfire may not have impacted the home with direct flame impingement, but even from a distance a wildfire can have many negative effects on a structure. Indirect damage from wildfires can come in many forms, one of the most common being smoke damage. This byproduct of wildfire is a nearly super heated gas that is compromised of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, and other toxic particulates that are created during combustion. While a fire is moving in the direction of a home, smoke is constantly being created and pushed towards impacting the structure. (Read more on smoke coloration studies here.)

Smoke Damage

Evidence of what heated gasses from a fire can do to the exterior of a residential structure.

Any space that is not airtight in your home is likely to fall victim to some of the negative impacts that smoke can have. Some of the areas that are the most common entrances of smoke to a structure would be doors (or any means of ingress and egress for residents and pets), windows, and central air ducts. With enough smoke, these air ducts can be a very efficient means of transportation to areas of the house that one would think are relatively inaccessible to particulate matter.

Once the smoke has entered the structure, it is difficult to stop the damage that follows. This troublesome gas usually leaves soot strewn throughout the home as well as, leaving foul smelling odors throughout the fabric of the home. These odors can be much more hazardous than just an unpleasant smell. The framework and materials of the structure can hold the particulate matter that has been shown to be a carcinogenic in some cases.

What are the steps that should be taken when impacted by smoke damage?

The most common response is “Document”. Document from the first time entering the home since the incident when the damage occurred, and every step in the reimbursement, replacement, and refurbishing process. Documenting these steps will provide records for your interactions with your insurance providers and ultimately make the entire process much smoother for all parties involved. Once the initial damage has been reported, an inspector may be necessary to finalize the reporting process. Going forward, there are two major choices that need to be made: will the damaged materials be replaced or will they be refurbished or cleaned. If the damage to clothing or fabric is minimal to the point that cleaning the surface/clothing is an option, professional cleaners will need to be hired to remove all of the soot and particulate matter from the smoke that settled in the home.