Think and Act Fire Smart


 Write Your Governor


Sign the petitionRather than shy away from the chemical, biological, and other toxic dangers posed by wildfires, we are ready to confront them. Let's reduce the risks to our family, friends, coworkers, pets, and other community members by urging state governors to launch or strengthen public awareness campaigns on urban wildfire cleanup hazards.

Please send a letter to you governor, u​​rging them to protect families, workers, pets, and communities during wildfire recovery efforts.​


 Think and Act Fire Smart: Four Important Tips for a Safe Recovery


After the Fire Is Over, Deadly Hazards Remain

The dangers from an urban wildfire do not end when the last ember cools; the potential health hazards are just beginning. The lasting threats to communities occur during the cleanup and recovery phase, when cleanup, demolition and construction workers take on hazardous tasks and families begin returning to their homes. If they are lucky enough to have their home intact, hidden hazards may exist within the walls of their homes from the impact of the toxic smoke.

Thousands of people in multiple states are impacted both directly and indirectly by wildfires, forest fires, brush fires, and now unprecedented urban wildfires that engulf entire neighborhoods. Even those hundreds of miles away from a burn zone may be at risk as equipment and materials that were in these environments are transported to other areas for service, repair and decontamination.​

It is important that residents returning home to pick up their lives have their property tested and evaluated by a certified professional​ to make sure it is completely safe, through sampling and data interpretation, to begin recovery efforts.

A Burning Impact That Lasts​​​

​A wildfire's impact to property, public health, and the environment can expand several hundred miles from the actual burn zone. Property loss due to extreme heat damage can directly affect properties adjacent to the wilderness. Even worse, communities several hundred miles downwind from the fire may also be consequentially affected as combustion particles are lofted high into the air by the fires extreme heat then driven great distances by prevailing winds. Feather-light ash produced by the intense heat of combustion and other smoke constituents including solid particles, liquids, aerosols, and gases can exist in the atmosphere for variable periods of time and continue to deposit long after the fire has been extinguished. The broad distribution capabilities and impacts of combustion byproducts and emissions produced by wildfires can result in widespread public exposure to potentially toxic materials.

United States wildfire statistics and information

Wildfire particles can both migrate and infiltrate into the built environment through open doors and windows, on shoes and clothing, through the ventilation system and unperceived gaps in the building envelope. Studies have shown, penetration rates can be highly influenced by building characteristics, meteorology, and particle size/composition. Settled combustion particles on building surfaces or personal property can emit volatile materials which may be the source of persistent odors and/or result in an alteration in appearance or value.​​