Yarnell Hill Fire Evacuee Re-Entry and Recovery

Yavapai County Emergency Management Press Release dated Monday, July 8th, 2013

Before residents of evacuated communities are allowed to return home, Yavapai County and supporting agencies will need to ensure conditions are safe. These include:

Re-Entry Security

Law Enforcement will ensure that only residents of the affected communities are allowed in. Please be sure you have appropriate identification proving you are a resident. You must get your re-entry pass before returning home. These passes will only be issued at the roadblocks on Hwy 89.

Safety

  • Yavapai County Development Services will be available to assess buildings and other structures which may be unsafe to enter due to damage from the fire.
  • APS and the local water system operator may need to restore services.

Red Cross Services

The Red Cross will provide shelter and meals as needed.  Reach the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross at 1-800-842-7349.

Public Health Information

Food Safety – Since electric power may have been off for at least two days, certain refrigerated foods may need to be thrown out:

  • All leftovers or cooked foods, raw meats, and lunch meats
  • Any dairy products including cheeses, eggs, seed sprouts, and cut melons
  • Prepared foods such as store-bought deli salads

You can safely keep things like ketchup, mustard, jams/jellies, store bought salad dressing and pickles/relish. Be sure to check fruits and vegetables for mold. Canned and packaged foods in pantries are safe unless they were exposed to extreme fire heat.

Check frozen food for thawing and refreezing that might have happened when the power was lost and then restored (example: large ice crystals in the food, or frozen liquid at the bottom of container). If refreezing is obvious, throw it away.

It is cheaper to replace the food than to risk your health by taking a chance. If in doubt, throw it out! For more information call (928) 771-3149.

Private Wells – If your home, or business, is on a private well, and was affected by the fire you may have to take some precautions.

Wildlife – During and after a fire, wildlife may be displaced and looking for food and water.

  • Do not leave pet food or water bowls outdoors.
  • Protect your pets as appropriate; keep safe from possible predator animals.
  • Avoid contact with all wildlife which may be carrying diseases such as rabies.

Biting Insects – While working outdoors, use an insect repellent containing DEET to prevent bites from fleas and ticks.

Snakes – When outdoors, be aware that snakes could be hiding in trash or wood piles.

Garbage – To avoid attracting animals and flies use tightly covered containers to hold garbage.

Septic Systems – Due to the wide range of septic system types, it is recommended that routine maintenance be performed as appropriate for your specific system; these guidelines are listed in Septic System Homeowner’s Manual.

  • Certain systems could be affected by lack of use during a prolonged absence.
  • Additional concerns might be fire retardant, water, ash, and weight of fallen debris crushing system components.
  • For information call Yavapai County Development Services at (928) 771-3214.

Air Quality – If you were exposed to smoke during the evacuation you might have health concerns. See brochure What to Do During a Fire or consult a medical professional if you aren’t feeling well. For more info call Arizona Department of Environmental Quality at (800) 234-5677.
See also: Fires, Smoke and Your Health

Clean-up – For information on cleaning clothes, cookware, furniture and other items see brochure entitled What to Do After a Fire. See Also: Safe Tips on Wildfire Ash Cleanup

What About Odors? – Short of thoroughly cleaning everything in the house or business, you can place saucers of household vanilla, vinegar, or activated charcoal in the rooms to help absorb the odors. Remember that the smoke odor is also inside the heating and cooling ductwork and you may get a fresh blast of odors every time the air system is turned on.

Behavioral Health

Don’t hesitate to ask for help if the stress is getting to you or someone you know. Talking to a friend or a counselor can help you get through this. See brochure After a Disaster.

Yavapai County Flood Control District (website)

There is a reasonable potential that the watersheds within the burn area will see increased flows and mudflows as the debris and ash from the fire are washed downstream. Any residential structure in Yavapai County is eligible for flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This includes structures in a Special Flood Hazard Area as mapped by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). There is a waiver to the 30-day waiting period for flood insurance if any claims are for a flood resulting from a fire on Federal property and the policy was purchased priori to the flooding event. Any residents downstream of the burn area are encourages to talk to your insurance agent about obtaining flood insurance. More information on flood insurance and post-fire flood potential can be found at www.floodsmart.gov. See the Flood After Fire Fact Sheet. Contact Yavapai County Emergency Management for information on sandbags.

If your land suffered fire damage, you may be at risk for soil erosion. You can reduce the amount of soil erosion on affected lands with common household tools and materials. Please refer to the Soil Erosion Control After Wildfire page on the Arizona Cooperative Extension website for more information.

Individual Assistance Service Center

Yavapai County Officials are working hard to assess the needs and establish an Individual Assistance Service Center that evacuated residents can access in order to obtain information and support in this time of need. The center will host many services offered by local and national government and non-government organizations. The center will be established as the Yarnell Hill Fire evacuation areas are opened to residents. Residents with special needs or functional needs are encouraged to seek out assistance as soon as possible. We appreciate your patience as we assemble these services for you.