Thank You to all the personnel who have been working round the clock to help in this disaster. San Diego has pulled together to get the jobs done along with other fire departments who have come from out of state.
As the fires are being contained and people are being allowed to return to their neighborhoods here are some suggestions to help in your clean up.
Trees which have deep burns in the trunks are to be considerd unstable, if the bark has been burned off this tree will not survive.
Trees that still have some foliage left on them usually means they are not completely dead, but take a look at the trunks to make sure there are no wounds that penetrate the inner part of the tree. Trim off the dead branches and seal with a tree seal to prevent insects and disease from penetrating into the tree during it's recovery period.
Most palm trees with burnt frawns are still alive, trim off the frawns, check for wounds in the trunk, don't feed yet, give them a few weeks to recover. Palms can tolerate burning better than we think
Trees which regrow from the roots after fires are Birch, Red Maple, Green Ash, Giant Sequoia and others so if you have these on your property don't dig them out just cut down if necessary.
Shrubs which also will regrow from the roots Manzanita, Mock Orange, Spiraea. Check your shrubs by cutting back the twigs about 1/3 and looking for a thin layer that is green or white and juicy, your shrub is alive.
Lawns with scorched areas can be raked and reseeded. This can be done now to guarantee the seed will take before winter rains thus helping with erosion control.
What about all the ash?
Ash from forest fires is relatively nontoxic yet ash from burning structures may contain toxic substances so take precautions when cleaning.
wear gloves, long sleeved shirts and long pants
wash your fruits and vegetables which may be covered in ash and if it is not scorched it should be safe to eat
use as little water as possible, try sweeping gently, do not use a blower
soot may be washed off areas using Orange TKO, this also will help eliminate some of the odor - 10% off all Orange TKO products purchased in the nurseries for the next 30 days (valid through 11/30/07) just bring this page.
We will continue posting helpful hints in the coming weeks, from erosion control to replanting using fire resistant plants.