Stay Safe After a Wildfire

Continue to check air quality reports.

Wildfires leave behind a lot of ash that can irritate your eyes, nose, or skin and cause coughing and other health effects.

  • Children and people with asthma, COPD, heart disease, or who are pregnant need to be especially careful about breathing wildfire smoke.
  • Protect yourself against ash when you clean up. Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and shoes and socks to protect your skin. Wear goggles to protect your eyes.
  • Wash off any ash that gets on your skin or in your eyes or mouth as soon as you can.
  • Children should not do any cleanup work.
  • Limit how much ash you breathe in by wearing an N95 respirator. A respirator is a mask that fits tightly to your face to filter out ash before you can breathe it in.  You must wear a respirator correctly . Respirators are not made to fit children.  If you have heart or lung disease ask your doctor if it is safe for you to wear a respirator.
  • Pay attention to any health symptoms if you or your children have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant. Get to medical help if you need it.
  • After a wildfire, private wells can be contaminated and unsafe to use for drinking water and other purposes.

Drive safely.

  • Be alert for broken traffic lights and missing street signs.
  • Watch out for trash and debris on the road.

Be careful around damaged buildings or structures.

  • Wait to return to buildings during daylight hours, when it is easier to avoid hazards, especially if the electricity is off and you have no lights.

Clean up safely.

  • Wear proper safety equipment, avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, and avoid electrical hazards.

Protect your emotional well-being.

After a wildfire, you may feel sad, mad, guilty, or numb. These are all normal reactions to stress. Talk to a psychologist, social worker, or professional counselor if you need help coping.