California's Camp Fire in 2018 burned more than 150,000 acres destroying at least 18,000 structures. Large fires are a common occurrence in many states causing untold damages.

Even areas outside the burn zones experience damage. Airborne ash from wildfires can spread hundreds of miles, increasing phosphates and nitrates in surrounding bodies of water, including pools.

Can you smell smoke from nearby wildfires? If so, it's possible you need fire recovery services for your pool. If you've had a house fire or a fire nearby, your pool definitely needs servicing.

Keep reading for information you need to know about swimming pools and wildfires.

Phosphates in Pool Water

Phosphates are derivatives of phosphoric acid and they're common in natural bodies of water. Phosphates flow into ponds, streams, and pools from chemicals used for lawns and agriculture. They also land in pools from airborne ash.

Phosphates are a source of nutrients in the water that contribute to a process called eutrophication. Eutrophication is the growth of plant life and algae in the water. Chlorine is the counterbalancing agent that keeps algae from growing in your pool.

Pools need a specific chemical balance to maintain clear, healthy water for swimming. When outside factors throw the chemicals out of balance, you get cloudy water that can turn different colors depending on the resulting algae growth.

Fire Recovery for Your Pool

Phosphates aren't the only thing in the pool water after a fire. You'll likely have ash, leaves, branches, and fire-suppressing chemicals in the pool. All these spell trouble for your pool's filtration system.

Ash seems simple but it's not. It differs depending on the temperatures at which the fire burns.

Fires hotter than 840 degrees Fahrenheit result in inorganic compounds such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Fires burning at lower temperatures create organic carbon ash.

Structure fires burn hot, producing calcium and potassium oxides and these together create quicklime which can ruin the filter system. The ash from structure fires also contains dangerous toxins like lead and arsenic.

Removing Ash From Pool Water

Have you ever seen ashes in the pool? If so, you noticed them because they float on top of the water. That's because ashes are hydrophobic and don't mix with water.

Even though ashes float on top of the water, it's not easy skimming them from the surface. Using certain enzymes and clarifiers change the charge of the ashes making removal easier. This is best left to a professional pool cleaner.

Fire-Fighting Chemicals

Firefighters drop fire-suppressing chemicals from airplanes during large fires. These firefighting chemicals are full of phosphates which end up in waterways and pools after a big fire.

Like the phosphates from lawn chemicals and agriculture, this creates an overabundance of nutrients in the pool water. These nutrients cause algae and other plant growth.

Equipment Damage

There's more to your pool than a structure full of water. There are pipes, heaters, and filtration systems.

All these different parts of the pool are subject to damage during a fire. Depending on how bad or how close the fire is to your pool, the pool may need draining and repairs.

Once drained, a professional can inspect the pool and all the parts for damage. The pipe fittings, plaster, decking, and walls may all need repairs.

Smoke is corrosive causing oxidative damage to anything on which it settles. Any part of the pool covered in smoke and ash needs cleaning and inspecting.

Use Extreme Caution

Hire a professional for the cleanup and inspection. Never start the cleanup process yourself because, without the proper safety equipment, you'll put your health at risk.

Goggles, gloves, and a respirator mask are necessary to avoid touching or inhaling any toxic ash or chemicals left from the fire. Pool owners sometimes find wild animals in or near their pools after a fire.

Don't remove an animal yourself. Call animal control or a local wildlife management office.

Downed electrical lines are another potential hazard after a fire. If the pump and filters are off, don't turn the breakers back on without the help of a professional. You could risk electrocution.

Fire Recovery Outside of Fire Zones

Are you outside of the actual fire zone but you smell smoke and see ashes in the pool? This cleanup is easier but still necessary. Remove any large debris from the pool first.

Scrub down the inside walls and floor of the pool with a large scrub brush. Skim the surface with a net after scrubbing to remove any small debris. Inspect the filters and make sure they're clean and operating well.

You'll want to do a chlorine shock treatment and get the pool chemicals balanced. The chlorine should be 20 parts per million (ppm).

After chlorinating, add a clarifier and an enzyme. Enzymes help clear the pool by breaking down non-living, organic materials.

If firefighting suppressants are in the pool, test for phosphates. Only test the water after the chlorine drops below 5 ppm. Add a broad-spectrum algaecide to the water.

Keep an eye on your filters because they may need some extra cleaning during this time.

The Pool Deck Area

Check for hydrophobicity around the pool area if there was a fire near the pool. This is when the soil bakes from the heat of the fire causing a hard, water-repellent top layer of soil.

Hydrophobicity causes added water runoff leading to concentrations of water in areas around the pool. This leads to erosion and can cause mud or other runoff into the pool itself.

Is there hydrophobicity around your pool? Use sandbags around the pool to keep runoff out of the pool water until you can fix the problem.

Fire Recovery for Your Pool

The most important thing in a fire is putting your family first and getting to safety. When it's all over and the cleanup starts, you'll want fire recovery for your pool to get it back in good working order for your family's enjoyment.

If possible, engage an expert so you don't subject yourself to unknown hazards. The experts know what they're doing and can help get your pool back up and running in no time.

Are you in need of fire recovery for your pool? Please contact us here for help.