The 2022 wildfire forecast for Southern California is not looking great. Experts anticipate one of the worst seasons on record.
Residents throughout L.A. County – especially those in regions marked as high risk for fire – are warned to always be prepared for the threat of inferno. Many choose to ignore these warnings and often do very little to prepare for an emergency.
Even if you do everything right, your home may still wind up in the path of an out-of-control wildfire. At that point, all you can do is evacuate, hope, and pray.
But what comes next? Picking up the pieces in the aftermath of a devastating fire is never easy – and the scars, both real and emotional, will last a lifetime. With that said, there are many helpful resources available. They can’t replace what’s been lost, but they can provide much-needed assistance for those impacted by wildfires.
As the 2022 wildfire season gets underway, here are some helpful resources to consider in case you need them:
Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services website provides resources for wildfire survivors. While the page is currently still geared towards those affected by the wildfires of 2021, its resources will remain available through 2022. These include debris removal and financial assistance information.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
As you can imagine, CAL FIRE has numerous resources for those impacted by fire. We recommend reading their guide on what to do Before, During and After a Wildfire. Tips include:
- Check with officials before returning home.
- Check for hot spots and smoldering tree stumps.
- Inspect your home’s exterior for sparks and embers.
- Inspect the attic for concealed sparks and embers.
Watching a wildfire destroy your home can be extremely traumatic. Talking with a licensed professional can benefit your post-disaster mental health. They can provide you with different strategies to cope or even prescribe PTSD medications. If you or a loved one are struggling with the difficult aftermath post-devastating wildfire, consider scheduling an online therapy session.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has an informative online guide for What To Do After A Home Fire. This resource includes tips on how to clean up as well as offering support to loved ones. The Red Cross may also be able to provide fire victims with food, water, blankets, and other relief supplies.
National Association of School Psychologists
NASP has a helpful online guide for parents titled Helping Children After a Wildfire: Tips for Parents and Teachers. This is a handy resource for those worried about how their kids will recover from a devastating fire, especially if it destroyed their home.
Live California Fire Map
A regularly updated fire map might sound like too little too late for those already affected by wildfires. But unlike lightning, wildfire tends to strike the same place twice over time. Going forward, checking on active fires in the area may give you enough time to clear brush and do other things to limit the damage.
An app meant to bring neighbors closer, Nextdoor is also a handy resource if one or more animals are unaccounted for in the aftermath of a fire. We hope you remembered to take your animals with you before evacuating, but doing so is not always practical. But just because they were left behind doesn’t mean they’re gone for good – it’s common for dogs, cats, and even livestock to turn up days later and miles away. Nextdoor can help you connect with those who’ve spotted your animals and shorten the time it takes to find and collect them.
Facebook is another social network that can help fire victims reunite with lost pets and loved ones. It’s also helpful in staying up-to-date on the latest fire damage and control developments. You might not like all the memes and selfies, but when it comes to connecting with friends and family, there’s no better way than through Facebook.
Wildfires have long replaced earthquakes as the most destructive natural disaster threatening Southern California. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of them letting up anytime soon. With this in mind, L.A. County residents must be perpetually prepared to manage a family-wide evacuation if the need arises (this includes dogs and cats too!)