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Natural Disasters


Cars leaving a wildfire area

Photo from FEMA / Bryan Dahlberg

Always call 911 if you are in immediate danger and need emergency help.

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Prepare for or respond to a wildfire

small US map showing air quality forecast
Click the map for info about the air quality forecast.

Air quality health information:

Related planning:

Planning for disaster debris:
Damage from a wildfire depends on the size, extent, and other factors. Damage debris can include destroyed structures, hazardous waste, green waste, or personal property. More information on disaster debris

Chemical or fertilizer storage:

Properly designed or modified storage facilities enhance worker safety and minimize the risk contamination.

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Recover after a wildfire.

ALERT: Generator exhaust is toxic. Always put generators outside well away from doors, windows, and vents. Never use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas. Carbon monoxide (CO) is deadly, can build up quickly, and linger for hours. More information on carbon monoxide.

Air quality and health information:

After a wildfire, be aware that smoldering materials in the building may produce many pollutants. Many adverse health conditions can be caused by inhaling or ingesting even small amounts of these pollutants. Small children, the elderly, or people with preexisting respiratory conditions can be especially vulnerable to some of these pollutants.

What to do with disaster debris:

Disasters can generate tons of debris, including building rubble, soil and sediments, green waste (e.g., trees and shrubs), personal property, ash, and charred wood. How a community manages disaster debris depends on the debris generated and the waste management options available. Burying or burning is no longer acceptable, except when permission or a waiver has been granted, because of the side effects of smoke and fire from burning, and potential water and soil contamination from burial. Typical methods of recycling and solid waste disposal in sanitary landfills often cannot be applied to disaster debris because of the large volume of waste and reluctance to overburden existing disposal capacity. More information on handling debris.

Dealing with Debris and Damaged Buildings

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