OKLAHOMA CITY -- The American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma has time-tested tips to help people affected by the recent wildfires across the state, and will speed up recovery after this disaster.
Returning to Your Neighborhood
Returning to Your Home
If you have a propane tank system, turn off valves and leave them closed until a propane supplier inspects the system – Heat can damage tanks, brass and copper fittings, and lines, leaving them unsafe. If fire heated the tank, the pressure relief valve probably opened and released the contents.
If you have a fuel oil tank system, contact your supplier for an inspection of the system before use – The tank may have shifted or fallen from its stand and fuel lines may have kinked or weakened. Heat from the fire may have caused the tank to warp or bulge. Non-vented tanks are more likely to bulge or show signs of stress. The fire may have loosened or damaged fittings and filters.
Check your trees for stability – Any tree that has been weakened by fire may be a hazard. Winds topple weakened trees and the loss of trees can change wind patterns in your area.
Look for burns on the tree trunk. If the bark of a trunk has been burned off or scorched completely around the circumference, that tree is unlikely to survive. Where fire has burned deep into the trunk, the tree should be considered unstable.
Check for burned roots by probing the ground around the base of the tree and several feet away from the base with a rod. Roots are generally six to eight inches below the surface. If the roots have been burned, you should consider this tree very unstable and subject to being toppled by the wind.
A scorched tree is one that has lost part or all of its leaves or needles. Healthy deciduous (broadleaf) trees are resilient and may produce new branches and leaves as well as sprouts at the base of the trunk. Evergreen (needled) trees may survive when partially scorched. An evergreen tree that has been damaged by fire is subject to bark beetle attack. Seek assistance from the forestry service or a professional for ways to protect evergreens from insect attack.