The host of emotions following a disaster can leave one feeling overwhelmed and wondering what to do next.
Wildfire recovery doesn't happen overnight. It is a steady process of assessing damage, evaluating new conditions, and deciding on what to do next. The ultimate goals of renewal, rehabilitation, and re-vegetation can be attained, but will take patience and persistence.
The journey ahead is not easy, but the information provided here will help you get started.
- Take Care of Yourself: Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the Red Cross or the Salvation Army. They will help you find a place to stay, food, medicines, and other important things.
- Assess Home Damage: Check with the fire department to make sure your home is safe to enter. Be very careful when you go inside. The fire department will tell you if your utilities (water, electricity, and gas) are safe to use.
- Assess Resource Damage: Forests, Livestock, and Vineyards damaged by fire will need restoration. The action or inaction taken in the months following fire can have long lasting impacts on how these natural resources recover.
- Secure Finances: Check with an accountant or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about special benefits for people recovering from fire loss. If you have insurance, contact your insurance company to learn how to keep your home safe until it is repaired. If you are not insured, try contacting community groups for aid and assistance.
- Prepare for the future: Preventing the next fire starts as soon as the current one ends. As you begin to rebuild your home and establish your garden, look for fire-resistant building designs to minimize your risk during the next fire.