Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)
Southeastern Idaho Public Health
Residents Affected by the 2012 Charlotte Fire & Recovery Personnel
As you begin the rebuilding process, we ask you to consider the following environmental and public health
issues that sometimes are overlooked and can cause future problems. Identifying these issues while in the clean-
up phase is often the most cost-effective method of handling post-fire tasks. DEQ is available to provide
assistance in any way we can and can be reached at 236-6160. Southeastern Idaho Public Health can be
consulted for health related questions (239-5270) while Bannock County can provide free disposal options and
other services to help residents recover from this catastrophic event.
Disposal of Household Hazardous Materials & Debris
Hazardous material left on-site after a fire can present conditions harmful to you, nearby families/ residents,
wildlife, and affect the water quality of local streams. Proper cleanup of these items can greatly reduce the
impact on public health and the environment. Materials left behind after a fire can include:
Paint & solvent cans Refrigerators with Freon
Gas cans Batteries
Used oil containers Tires
Most of these types of materials can be handled safely by the Bannock County Landfill if you wish to discard
them. To facilitate their disposal, we generally recommend temporarily segregating items by placing them in a
secure (bermed and tarped) area on your property to prevent leaching and run-off prior to sending them to the
Bannock County Landfill. For more information for landfill disposal call 236-7400 or see
Bannock County Landfill accepts household hazardous waste the first Saturday of every month through
October (7 July, 4 Aug, 1 Sep, 6 Oct) from 9am to 3 pm. A special disposal date of July 14 is scheduled
to support those impacted by the Charlotte Fire FREE OF CHARGE. Volunteers will pick up your
segregated items from 12 to 3 pm and deliver them to the landfill.
If leaking containers are encountered, call the Fire Department/Haz Mat team (234-6201) for assistance.
Since some items may need assessing on a case by case basis (such as equipment containing mercury),
please call DEQ for assistance.
Bannock County normally requires a demolition permit for any activity related to building demolition,
debris removal, or grading. HOWEVER, for those affected by the Charlotte fire, permits fees AND
landfill fees WILL BE WAIVED as long as residents contact the County for a free permit/inspection to
help you speed your property’s recovery. Please contact Bannock County Planning and Development
Department at 236-7230 prior to any demolition or cleanup of a building site.
In addition to removing household hazardous materials, try to segregate recyclable materials as much as
possible (e.g. metals, plastics) to reduce the volume of disposed materials and save cost. Also,
separating concrete debris from other material such as wood helps the landfill direct the items to the
proper locations at the facility and saves space.
Please refrain from burying debris on your property.
Red fire retardant is not hazardous and can be safely washed off!
Ammunition: Please do not move it! Unexploded ammunition exposed to fire can be very volatile. It is
best to call the Sheriff's office (236-7104) to arrange for emergency disposal.
Asbestos: Keep in mind that homes manufactured prior to 1980, may contain asbestos in the form of
insulation, tile, mastics, and roofing compound. After a fire, asbestos fibers can remain in debris. More
importantly, working with asbestos containing debris requires some safety precautions such as wearing
a protective dust mask and spraying the material with water as it is excavated and handled to reduce dust
generation. Residential asbestos debris can, however, be disposed of by coordinating with the Bannock
For questions on the above or other similar issues, please call DEQ.
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Moving Soil and Erosion
When performing clean-ups, work crews should be conscious of erosion potential that may occur during the
next rain storm. Uncontrolled runoff may dramatically impact downstream neighbors, road ways, storm drains,
Bannock County can help you assess erosion issues related to road access and culverts.
Should you need assistance with revegetation and/or methods to prevent erosion on your property, you
can consult the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or Portneuf Soil and Water
Conservation District. Both are located at 1551 Baldy Ave, Pocatello (237-4628).
If you have questions about possible new and/or existing soil contamination, call DEQ.
The fire aftermath may contribute to poor air quality in the Pocatello area, especially during high winds.
If your home is influenced by airborne dust from the fire and is primarily downwind of the burned area,
please keep your windows closed and operate filtered air conditioning units with the fresh air intake
closed. High efficiency air conditioner filters will capture the most particles. Be sure to clean or replace
the filter often. In addition to AC filters, room sized HEPA filtering units can be used in the home to
clean indoor air.
If you plan on working at your property, please consider (at least initially) working with a ½ face
respirator or a NIOSH certified N95 or P100 Particulate Mask that has two straps that go around the
Using a water mist will reduce your exposure to small particulate matter and help anchor existing dust.
DEQ will deploy portable air monitoring equipment to assess on-going air quality in the vicinity of the fire.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call DEQ.
After a fire, your household drinking water system may need to be assessed for damage. Residents should check
the integrity of the system as well as consider disinfecting the system if it was depressurized. Both DEQ and
Southeastern Idaho Public Health (239-5270) can assist you in assessing your well system or provide guidance
and help for testing the quality of the water through a local lab.
If you are a member of the Mink Creek Mountain Estates drinking water system, DEQ/Public Health
will help your operator assess the integrity and safety of the system prior to re-starting it. Valley View
Estates and Caribou Acres drinking water systems are up and running.
Lab services to test well water for E. coli or Total Coliform will be provided by Pocatello’s Water
Pollution Control Lab located at 10733 North Rio Vista Road FREE OF CHARGE for residents in the
area of the Charlotte Fire. Business hours are 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Monday-Friday although the lab can
provide the services outside of business hours if necessary. The lab will provide sterile sample bottles
and can assist in the taking of the samples. You can contact Candice Hurt at 241-0695 or Christi Rowe
Underground Heating Fuel Oil Tanks
We recommend that you have any underground tanks inspected prior to reuse. Any type of underground tank
could have been damaged by heavy fire-fighting equipment. If you would like to remove the tanks, DEQ can
also help you with this process.
The following information can help you better plan for clearing your property for the rebuilding of your home or
alleviating future issues on your property should you decide another option.
Mark the location of your Septic tank and septic field.
Mark the location of any underground fuel oil tanks.
Mark the location of any private wells and mark at least a 50 foot buffer area.
Mark the location of any storage shed if you are concerned with residue from previously stored
The information contained in this document is meant to provide guidance and help to those people affected by the
Charlotte Fire outside of Pocatello. It is not meant to be an all-inclusive guide to fire recovery…rather a quick
reference to the proper agency contacts and resources for the most pressing issues related to the protection of public
health and the environment.