March 3, 2011 After the wildfire can be the most stressful for producers
Wildfires affect America’s farms and ranches, damaging and destroying homes, barns, agriculture production facilities, crops and livestock. While much of this damage can be avoided or minimized if a few precautions are taken to minimize the risk and spread of wildfires. Producers often find the aftermath of a wildfire can be the most stressing and hazardous.
A few precautions must be taken after a wildfire takes place on your property:
- Stay out of damaged barns buildings and return to your property only when authorities permit you to.
- Notify proper authorities if you believe that hazardous materials were released in the fire or during fire fighting. Place warning signs on contaminated areas.
- When disposing of some materials, such as those potentially contaminated with chemicals, check on state and local requirements for disposal procedures.
- Consult someone from the Local Emergency Planning Committee or the state Division of Emergency Management for legal clean-up procedures if needed.
- Keep livestock away from contaminated feed and water.
- Wear protective gear when entering contaminated areas including steel-toed boots, a hard hat, respiratory protection, gloves and other protective clothing when in damaged barns and buildings.
- Before entering a barn or building, asses the true integrity of the structure. Always turn off the electrical power and other utilities until a thorough safety inspection is made.
- If the decision is made to demolish a building, hire a professional. Professionals will be able to do the job more efficiently and safely.
- Check with your insurance provider so you know what is covered by wildfires. Take pictures of all damage, and inventory all damaged structures, supplies, equipment and machinery. Save receipts for expenses relating to fire loss.
Animals are especially susceptible to wildfires, especially those that are confined to small pastures. After a wildfire, examine all animals exposed to wildfire smoke, heat, or burns. You may need to spray animals with water in order to cool them down.