Recovering from the Carr Fire
In 2018, fires have charred about 7,200 square miles across the USA, which is about 1,400 square miles above average, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Although it could be weeks or months away, the deadly Carr Fire and other horrific wildfires in California and across the western USA will eventually be doused.
But how long will it be before things return to "normal"?
For some folks, it could be years, or perhaps never: "In the communities where these large fires hit, there can be a decades-long impact," said Merritt Turetsky, an ecosystem ecologist at the University of Guelph in Canada.
Fires can leave entire neighborhoods ruined. Turetsky related a story from years ago of people who moved back to a neighborhood into the only home a wildfire spared – then realized they were alone in a blackened and charred landscape, one that might never be rebuilt.
Nationally, only 25 percent of burned homes were rebuilt within five years, according to a study in 2015 in the "International Journal of Wildland Fire."
Big fires can decimate the environment. When man-made materials from houses, cars or other buildings burn, they can release toxins into the soil, rivers or streams, Turetsky said. They're also released into the air we breathe.
Overall, "the after effects of a wildfire on watershed can be drastic," according to Cal Fire. "Rates of erosion and runoff can increase to dangerous levels following wildfires in California. Normally trees, shrubs, grass and other protective ground cover help prevent soil detachment and allow rainfall to infiltrate into the soil."
Thus, landslides and mudslides can bring further misery to fire-scarred areas when winter rains come. This winter, an El Niño is likely, the Climate Prediction Center said, which generally means additional rainfall for California.
If you or someone you know are experiencing smoke damage from fires, SERVPRO of Irwindale/Baldwin Park is here to help. Our services cover fire and smoke restoration.
To everyone impacted by the wildfires in California, we are truly sorry for your loss and offer our services to you.
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