If your property and/or land has been damaged by wildfire, it’s important to conduct field sampling in the burned areas to determine the degree of toxicity and whether or not it needs to be remediated to minimize health risks to people and animals.
Omega Environmental conducts wildfire damage assessments in three phases. You can choose all or any one phase but, in order to obtain an accurate chemical profile of the entire area damaged by the wildfire(s), we recommend that all phases are conducted. This is the most cost-effective way to achieve the goals of profiling the chemical composition of the wildfire ash generated by wildfire.
Our methodology an process was developed by Richard Wade, PhD., our Senior Scientist and Toxicologist. Dr. Wade has provided technical consultation, risk management and mitigation strategies for some of the world’s most challenging contamination scenarios, including oil spills, hazardous material rail car derailments and the aftermath of fires and explosions. He has also provided investigation and mitigation strategies for food and water contamination. Learn more…
We will take exterior samples at the center of the structural fire concentration and the perimeter of the fire. Samples will also be taken at one quarter and one-half mile and one mile from the fire perimeter.
Sampling typically includes the following:
- Combustion by-products (char, soot and ash)
- Priority pollutant metals (13 metal scan)
- Semi-volatile organic compounds
- Extractable petroleum hydrocarbons
- Asbestos fibers
If damage has occurred from multiple wildfires, we will profile the chemical composition of the largest. Through this profile, we will examine the worst case in terms of structural/wildfire ratios that could change the chemical composition of the resulting ash.
If damage has occurred from multiple wildfires, we will sample exterior locations in the smaller fire(s). The concentration of structures burned is typically lower and the fire damage area represented in the sampling is typically larger. This data is important to compare to the composition of the fire ash in the larger fire.
We collect samples from the same chemical components in sample locations, including inside the fire zone, at one-quarter mile downwind and outside the fire zone and one-half mile outside the fire zone and at one mile outside the fire zone.
We conduct an overview survey of interiors from homes and other buildings damaged by each wildfire. Each sample set includes the same as for the exterior samples (see above) inside the fire zone, at one-quarter mile downwind and outside the fire zone and one-half mile outside the fire zone and at one mile outside the fire zone.
Our final step is to present you with a report that includes the following:
- Fire history, location, burn area, and specific facilities affected
- Methodology of our sampling: what we tested and how we tested including the different chemicals used
- Findings and analysis, including comparisons of affected areas to normal levels
- Recommendations to be incorporated into work plans and remediation/restoration efforts