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Cleaning Up Your Camp After a Wildfire

Wildfires can cause significant damage to camps and cabins. Returning to assess and clean up these areas requires caution to protect yourself from hazards like unstable structures, sharp objects, and ash inhalation. Please find below recommendations from Public Health Department of CBHSSJB for people returning to camps damaged by forest fire. 

Getting ready to go:


  • Bring only those prepared for the emotional impact.  Seeing the damage may be difficult for some people. Consider who can handle seeing the destruction and who might need support.  
  • Plan for proper debris removal if rebuilding. Choose a safe area to gather all debris in one place. Putting the debris in the bush may cause future fire risk. 
  • Dress for safety:  You may be working with sharp edges and a lot of ash and soot. 
    Plan on wearing:   
  • thick-soled boots,  
  • long pants, a long-sleeved shirt. 
  • Protect your hands with work gloves.  
  • Protect your lungs: Use an N95 or KN95 mask to avoid inhaling ash and dust. Goggles and coveralls may be necessary. 
  • Check if you are due for a tetanus booster. For adults, 18 years old and older, who are planning to go places that are far from health care services, such as the bush, and planning to participate in activities where there is an increased risk of injuries, like demolition or construction, regional public health recommends a booster of Tetanus (dT) if your last dose is more than 5 years ago. Contact your CMC to get one before you go. 

Working in fire damaged areas:


  • Use caution if entering the burned area as hazards may still exist. Check structural stability before entering damaged structures. Signs of structural instability include:
    • part of the roof is weakened;
    • a slanted wall;
    • cracks in the ceilings;
    • sagging floors;
    • doors that no longer close.

Check for damaged trees or external buildings that may have become unstable.

  • Always wear protective clothing and work gloves.  Layered Rubber gloves can be used.  Watch for sharp edges. 
  • Wear an N95 or KN95 to avoid breathing in dust and ash, especially if there is wind.
  • Wash your hands after handling ash and debris, especially before eating or touching your face.


To clean up any dust or ash:

Before moving back into your camp, ensure that every room that was affected by smoke has been cleaned, disinfected and dried, that all affected dishes, utensils and glasses have been thoroughly washed and disinfected.

Emotional support:

Returning to places damaged by fires can be very difficult and can stir up a lot of emotions. We should be gentle with ourselves and with each other.

It may be helpful to have someone to speak to. The Wîchihîwâuwin Helpline is a regional helpline offered by the CBHSSJB.  It provides a safe and confidential space for people who need to talk on the phone about any difficult situations concerning their well-being.  The service is offered in English and French.  Cree speakers and traditional healers are also available upon request. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Wîchihîwâuwin Helpline: 1-833-632-4357

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