After a wildfire, your home may be affected by smoke, soot and ash, chemicals, structural damage, and water damage. This information is a collection of health and safety items to think about as you return to your home. It covers many general topics. Not all of the information may apply to your situation, depending on the type of water system you have, how long you were evacuated, the seriousness of the wildfire, and whether or not the wildfire impacted your water system directly. Alberta Health Services and local authorities may give you more guidance specific to your situation.
Yes. It’s recommended that that you flush your water system to get the stagnant water out of your water lines. Stagnant water is water that has been sitting in your water lines without moving or flowing for some time. Flush your system even if there’s a boil water advisory when you return home. Flush your system again once the boil water advisory has ended.
To flush your system:
For more information on how to use water safely for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing during a boil water advisory, see
how to use water at home during a boil water advisory
Do a physical inspection of your well or cistern and
test your water before you start using it. Your well or cistern may be physically damaged and your water supply may be contaminated by harmful germs (bacteria) because of a loss of pressure.
If your well or cistern was directly impacted by the wildfire,
contact a health inspector for more advice.
You can also contact Environmental Public Health for more information.
Current as of: September 22, 2022
Author: Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.