Returning Home & Recovering after a Wildfire
- Tips for Safety and Success from the Colorado State Forest Service
- Use caution when entering burned areas as hazards may still exist, including falling trees, ash and other hazards.
- Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles and downed wires.
- Watch for ash pits and mark them for safety—warn family and neighbors to keep clear of the pits also.
- Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of fire ash and safe use of masks.
- Wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles.
- Wear leather gloves and heavy soled shoes to protect hands and feet.
- Cleaning products, paint, batteries and damaged fuel containers need to be disposed of properly to avoid risk.
What is Burn Scar Flooding?
Following a catastrophic wildfire, as we saw here in Larimer County and around the state of Colorado in 2020, the intense heat leaves behind conditions where vegetation is burned away completely, and soil is heavily charred. The soil develops a layer, almost wax-like, that repels water, and this condition can last for several years. As a result, when it rains, the water
is no longer absorbed into the soil and instead behaves similarly to water running across a sidewalk. This potentially leads to flooding or mudflows, even when rain is light.
Flooding is a hazard that is very likely in Larimer County, however, the burn scar from the Cameron Peak Wildfire is over 200,000 acres, which increases this likelihood of post-fire flooding occurring significantly in Larimer County. Additionally, areas that typically experience high waters, particularly in the spring with run-off, such as rivers, streams, or tributary and properties located below or downstream from burn areas are at increased risk of flooding.
Post Cameron Peak Fire Community Cleanup
- Roll-off Dumpsters will be available again this Spring! The County will be providing several complimentary debris dumpsters for properties impacted by the fires this spring once weather improves.
- As all debris coming out of the Cameron Peak Fire area is considered contaminated by asbestos and is more costly to dump at the Larimer County Landfill, this free service will hopefully benefit fire survivors during this difficult time. We will also offer free metal recycling locations during this time too.
- More information will be available in April on locations and timelines.
- All debris collected from properties will be properly contained within the dumpsters by our vendors for landfill placement. Please be a good neighbor and only take fire impacted debris to the free dumpsters. Thank you for your consideration!
Thank you to our vendors, Colorado Iron and Metal and Gallegos Sanitation. Questions? Please contact:
Kohl Parrott, Emergency Management Coordinator, Larimer County Office of Emergency Management
Rebuilding and repairing structures damaged by fire can be a daunting process. Please do not hesitate to contact the Community Development Department at (970) 498-7670.
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