How Towns Can Rebuild After a Wildfire?

Wildfires are horrific natural disasters that can devastate individual households and large communities alike. By definition, wildfires, also known as wildland fires, are known to ravage combustible wildland vegetation areas. Depending on the incident, a wildfire can destroy natural forests, negatively impact soil fertility and water cycles, or even threaten the health of those residing nearby the ignition point.

In terms of cause, different events can ignite wildfires, ranging from human-caused to naturally occurring. Arson, equipment malfunctions (i.e., car accidents), unattended campfires, discarded cigarettes, and burning debris are all culprits of human-caused wildfires. On the other hand, natural fires result from lightning strikes, meteors, volcanic eruptions, etc.

Climate change also plays a direct role in the rising temperatures and drought conditions capable of sparking disastrous wildfires. While natural bushes, shrubs, and trees might not usually be considered hazardous, in arid conditions, these underwatered grasses and leaves serve as fuel for raging wildfires.

Unfortunately, cities around the world have been negatively impacted by wildfires, both physically and financially. The secret to overcoming wildfire-related devastation is to devise a well-thought-out plan that can help you rebuild and move on as a community. For farming communities, companies like Granite Seed offer resources to help recover lost vegetation and crops.

Below are some tips that towns recovering from wildfires should implement in order to rebuild successfully. Don’t submit to the ruinous effects of naturally-occurring and human-caused wildfires. Demonstrate resilience and fight back.

1. Implement safety measures

An essential part of rebuilding is preventing the possibility of future fires and other calamities. Town leadership should work hand-in-hand with its citizens to identify affordable yet efficient prevention measures. These safety measures may include heat-activated alarms in central installations and audio alarms.

When proposing possible safety precautions, note that the strategies employed should be enticing to the public. In most cases, affordability will appeal to even the most skeptical homeowners in your city, meaning the installation shouldn’t be expensive.

2. Put up temporary housing

Sadly, some town residents will become homeless as a consequence of catastrophic property damage. With this displacement in mind, it’s vital to provide a temporary home for residents who can’t relocate.

You’ll need to construct these temporary homes in specific places, such as open fields or areas away from the fire zone. Most cities opt for tents, which are easy to assemble, affordable, and act as temporary houses for many families.

Account for your region’s climate when debating between tents and other sturdier structures. Those areas experiencing colder daily averages, severe weather, or plummeting nightly temperatures should reconsider a tent contingency plan.

3. Set up a cushion for the poor and vulnerable families

In most town fire cases, low-income households are the most directly affected, as most town fires start in densely-populated areas, such as slums. Having a safety net program in place can go a long way in protecting those disadvantaged communities in the case of a natural disaster.

The World Bank has set a framework that instructs towns and local governments to cater to minoritized groups’ needs during construction-based initiatives. According to the experts, involving the disabled and the less fortunate in the building process can yield life-changing results.

4. Plan and provide resources

After a wildfire, central government forces and the international community will pressure these local governments to finalize a rebuilding strategy and enact necessary policies. During the rebuilding phase, local government officials will need to demonstrate and track community progress.

While speed is vital, as these wildfires pose health risks and leave hundreds of families homeless, hurried construction puts the recovery process at risk if proper schedules and timelines are not put in place and met. Devote the time necessary for planning and avoid jumping headfirst into the rebuilding portion.

After providing temporary shelter, the first step should be to fulfill your community’s needs by establishing medical centers, hospitals, and institutions responsible for food distribution during the recovery period. Once a community member’s needs are satisfied, they’ll feel more inclined to help others dealing with medical crises or financial stress, encouraging a community mindset.

5. Cushion funds and insurance roll-out

In the case of town fires, there’s a high likelihood of small business destruction. Local governments should make it easy for these small business owners to bounce back after rebuilding by equipping them with loans and grants. The same incentives should be allotted to homeowners to help them overcome the financial strain resulting from the natural disaster in question.

Conclusion

With the above pointers put in place, it’s also important to note that the residents should feel like they’re contributing to the rebuilding process’s success. Generally speaking, these initiatives will have a more significant positive impact when they’re community-owned and community-driven.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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