Living in Fire Impacted Areas
Building inspectors have inspected homes in the fire affected area that appear to have damage on the exterior. Based on the level of damage identified, your home may have a green, yellow or red placard. Please read your placard carefully to understand the damage assessment and level of structural occupancy safety determined. These inspections are strictly an assessment of exterior damage to the home and do not indicate if the interior of your home has been impacted by heat, smoke, hazardous particles/ash or other potential health concerns that may have been caused by the fire.
Homes that are free of exterior damage have not been inspected and should be approached with caution. You are advised that toxic ash and debris may still be in and around your home and property.
If your home has not been destroyed by the fire and does not have visible exterior damage, then you may occupy the home at your own risk once evacuation orders have been lifted. View the Vendor List for Structure Exposure, which was compiled to assist home owners and business owners with standing structures to assess and test for exposure to fire impacted property. This is not a list of vendors for fire debris removal.
If your home is in close proximity to destroyed property containing hazardous debris and ash, including outbuildings on your property, you are urged to review the Health and Safety Precautions for entering a fire-impacted area. Home owners are advised to get a professional smoke damage inspection to assess the level of indoor exposure and identify how to safely remove the smoke damage.
People with chronic health and respiratory conditions, older adults, pregnant women, and children should exercise special caution because they may be more susceptible to health effects from the debris and ash. Do not allow children to play in ash. Wash and clean all children’s toys carefully after possible contamination. Children should not be in the vicinity while cleanup is in progress. Even if care is exercised, it is easy to stir up ash that may contain hazardous substances. If you choose to allow your children to play outside, please keep them under close supervision as their exploratory nature may result in direct contact with contaminated materials.
- California Environmental Protection Agency: Fire Response and Recovery
- California Environmental Protection Agency: Protecting Public Health from Home & Building Fire Ash
- Center for Disease Control & Prevention: Returning to Your Home After a Disaster
- California Department of Public Health: Reduce Exposure to Ash When Returning Home After a Fire