WILDFIRE GUIDE
Preparation And Recovery For
Underground And Aboveground
Storage Tank Systems
United States
^ HC1 Environmental Protection
^1	Agency

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September 2021
Wildfire Guide:
Preparation And Recovery For
Underground And Aboveground
Storage Tank Systems
Disclaimer
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed this guide to provide information for
underground storage tank (UST) and oil aboveground storage tank (AST) owners and operators in the
event of a wildfire. This guide does not replace existing federal or state laws or regulations, nor does
this impose legally binding requirements. The word should as used in this guide, is intended solely to
recommend, or suggest and does not connote a requirement.
For regulatory requirements regarding UST systems, refer to 40 CFR Part 280 and corresponding state
regulations. For regulatory requirements regarding oil AST systems, refer to 40 CFR Part 112,
corresponding state regulations, and local fire codes.

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September 2021
Contents
Disclaimer	ii
About This Guide	1
Preparing For And Recovering Your Facility From Wildfire	1
What To Do As The Fire Approaches Your Facility	 1
Recovery From The Fire	 1
Are Wildfires An Issue For Underground Storage Tank Systems?	2
UST Finder—National Underground Storage Tank Web Map And Applications For Wildfires	2
UST Finder: Proactive Applications	3
Case Studies Of Wildfire Impacts On UST Facilities	5
Being Ready	8
Key Points To Consider In Case Of Wildfire	10
Wildfire Preparation	12
UST Finder: Near Real Time Fire Conditions	12
What To Do As The Fire Approaches Your Facility	13
Recovery	 14
UST Finder: Post Event Screening	14
Debris Flow Fields—Post Wildfires And Precipitation	17
Are Wildfires An Issue For Aboveground Storage Tank Systems?	18
Being Ready	 18
Wildfire Preparation	 18
What To Do As The Fire Approaches Your Facility	19
Recovery	21
Financial Assistance Available To UST And Oil AST Owners And Operators	23
Resources And Links	25

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September 2021
About This Guide
Wildfires can begin suddenly and spread quickly, moving up to 14 miles per hour and causing
significant damage to the environment and impacted communities. EPA developed this guide as a
resource for UST and oil AST owners and operators in the event of a wildfire. This guide may help
UST and oil AST owners and operators prepare for and respond to the catastrophic effects and
environmental harm that may occur as a result of partial or fully burned UST systems or oil ASTs and
associated piping and appurtenances. Information in this guide may help owners and operators return
their facilities to service as soon as possible. State, local, and tribal UST and oil AST program
implementers may also find this guide useful.
This guide consolidates federal, state, non-governmental, and UST and oil AST industry resources.
However, many communities develop their own strategies and resources to reduce the effects of wildfire
on their citizens, businesses, and environment. Although this guide addresses USTs and oil ASTs
affected by wildfire, some elements of the checklists may apply to other natural disasters as well.
This guide does not address ASTs containing other fuels such as propane, liquefied propane, or
compressed or liquefied natural gas. However, below are a couple resources regarding other fuels that
might be helpful.
•	Propane 101 Propane. LP Gas Tanks and Wildfires - How To Prepare
•	National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Vehicular Natural Gas Fuel Systems Code. NFPA
52
Preparing For And Recovering Your Facility From Wildfire
In addition to providing information and a broad array of resources, one of the central features of this
guide is a listing of actions to help UST and oil AST owners and operators prepare should a wildfire
approach their facility as well as steps to recover from potential impacts to their facility.
What To Do As The Fire Approaches Your Facility
•	Recommended Actions For UST Facilities
•	Recommended Actions For AST Facilities
Recovery From The Fire
•	Steps To Take When Returning To Your UST Facility
•	Steps To Take When Returning To Your AST Facility
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September 2021
Are Wildfires An Issue For Underground Storage Tank
Systems?
According to data posted by the National Interagency
Fire Center—for each of the years 2015, 2017, and
2020—over 10 million acres of land burned in the
United States. In addition to the loss of lives, homes,
and communities, these fires contribute significantly to
air pollution, adding fine particulates, carbon monoxide,
nitrogen dioxide, formaldehyde, and acetaldehyde to the
environment. As climate change brings hotter weather
and water deficits, impacts from wildfires will likely be
amplified in the future.
While citizens are familiar with footage from areas
devastated by wildfires showing dense smoke obscuring
the sky, they may be less familiar with the impact these
fires can have on gas stations or other UST systems.
Gas stations provide critical infrastructure in terms of
gas, food, and emergency supplies and, as such, it is
important for those facilities to be prepared for all
natural disasters, including wildfire.
UST Finder—National Underground
Storage Tank Web Map And
Applications For Wildfires
As of March 2021, there are over 540,000 federally
regulated petroleum underground storage tanks in the
United States. Knowing where USTs are located is
critical to understanding how these systems are affected
by wildfires and other extreme weather events and to
assessing the potential impact to human health and the
environment. To identify USTs and their proximities to
populations and drinking water sources, EPA developed
UST Finder—a national geospatial database providing
the attributes and locations of active and closed USTs, UST facilities, and UST releases from states as of
2018-2019 and from tribal lands and U.S. territories as of 2020-2021.
Farm equipment is seen through heavy smoke on
September 2020, in Molalla, Ore. Credit: Nathan
Howard/Getty Images
Wildfires extents in 2015, 2017, and 2020. Data
from the National Interagency Fire Center. While
there are wildfires in the eastern portion of the
United States, the severity of the wildfires in the
West dwarf the impact of those in the East.
Credit: EPA
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September 2021
LIST Finder can identify USTs that are potentially
vulnerable to, or have been impacted by, wildfires. The
three sections below—Proactive Applications, Near Real
Time Fire Conditions, and Post Event Conditions—
discuss how LIST Finder applications can help.
UST Finder: Proactive Applications
The U.S. Forest Service's (USFS) Wildfire Hazard Potential dataset depicts the "relative potential for
wildfires that would be difficult for suppression resources to contain, based on wildfire simulation
modeling."1 You can import this dataset into UST Finder to co-locate areas of burn potential with
USTs.
How To Import Wildfire Hazard Potential Into UST Finder
Within UST Finder, select the Add Data widget at the top right of the application. Search ArcGIS
Online for Wildfires and find and add the Wildfire Hazard Potential service; or enter the following URL
into the URL table within the Add Data menu, per screenshot below
https://apps.fs.usda.gov/fsgisxQl/rest/services/RDW Wildfire/RMRS WildfireFIazardPotential classifie
d 2020/ImageServer
ERA'S UST Finder
https-y/gispub.epa.gov/iistfiuder
UST Finder

ArcGIS Onli
D Current Witdfir
Potenti
rescribed
Current Wildfires - Incidents
rd Potential, Version 201...
ADD DETAILS
Wildfire Hazard Potential, Versior
2020 Classified (Image Service)
NPS Facilities (Wildfire Risk)
Feature Service by NIFC_Adm.n
Moderate
Very High
Non-burnable
Screenshot showing how to import the Wildfire Hazard Potential dataset into UST Finder
1 https://epa.maps.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=55226e8547f84aae8965210a9801c357
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September 2021
This dataset allows users to assess, at national and local scales, the relative wildfire hazard potential—
from very low, depicted as green, to very high, depicted as red. You can activate the UST facility layer
and overlay it with the burn potential layer. As an example, the graphic below shows UST facilities,
depicted as blue points, near Los Angeles inside and outside of high burn potential areas.
Overlay of the wildfire hazard potential layer with UST facilities near Los Angeles, CA
UST Finder data, in conjunction with USFS's Wildfire Hazard Potential, can make UST owners,
operators, and other stakeholders aware of wildfire potential so they can take proactive steps to prepare
for and mitigate damage from wildfire as described in this guide.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA National Risk Index
spotlights hazards and highlights social vulnerability and community
resilience. The index helps users better understand the natural hazard risk of
their respective areas or communities. Users include planners and emergency
managers at the local, regional, state, and federal levels, as well as other
decision makers and interested users. Improved understanding of natural
hazard risk can lead to steps to reduce it.
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September 2021
Case Studies Of Wildfire Impacts On UST Facilities
Oregon
The 2020 Oregon wildfire season was one of the most destructive in the state. During that season, an
estimated 1.2 million acres burned; over 4,000 homes and 1,400 structures were destroyed; and 9 people
died. The most destructive wildfires began on Labor Day weekend. The fires spread rapidly due to
easterly winds forcing warm dry air down the Cascades and pushing the fire boundaries towards the
center of the valleys. More than 7,500 personnel from across the United States and Canada responded to
those fires.
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Map of Oregon wildfires in red with active UST facilities pinned in blue
Using geographic information system (GIS) applications, Oregon's Department of Environmental
Quality (DEQ) created a list of 40 UST facilities with a high potential of impacts from wildfires.
Approximately 12 were impacted by the wildfires, either by power loss, minor fire damage, or complete
destruction.
Fires destroyed the two facilities discussed below, including the loss of building structures, dispensers,
tank venting, and ability to conduct release detection.
The Rivers Run facility was located in Detroit, Oregon within the boundaries of the Lionshead fire near
the convergence of the Lionshead and Beachie Creek fire borders. See below for an image of this
facility post fire. At the time of the fire, the Rivers Run facility held approximately 10,000 gallons of
fuel in two multi-compartment underground storage tanks. The Oregon DEQ coordinated with the
facility's owner to safely remove fuel, with disposal handled by the facility's fuel distributer.
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September 2021
The Rivers Run facility after it was destroy ed by
the Lionshead fire
EPA contractors removing fuel from the USTs at
Rivers Run Facility
With the help of a state emergency response coordinator
and EPA, Oregon DEQ was able to empty several other
tanks in Detroit, helping to ensure no fuel released into
the environment.
The Blue River Gas facility in Blue River, Oregon was
located within the boundaries of the Holiday Farm fire.
At the time of the fire, Blue River Gas held
approximately 600 gallons of fuel in a single multiple
compartment UST. Oregon DEQ coordinated with EPA
to remove and dispose of the fuel. DEQ worked with
the Debris Removal Task Force, made up of several
state and federal agencies, to remove burned material,
including hazardous waste, from the over 4,000
properties impacted by wildfires.
California
Wildfires burned an estimated 4.2 million acres across California in 2020, destroying or damaging
10,488 structures. This followed 1.9 million acres burned in 2018 and 1.5 million acres burned in 2017.
Wildfire season can now last half of the year, evidenced by 50,000 acre or larger fires that started as
early as June and as late as December. At the peak of wildfire season in August 2020, firefighters in
California simultaneously battled as many as 367 wildfires, most started by lightning strikes.
The third largest fire—the Camp Fire in November 2018—stands out as one of the most tragic and
destructive wildfire in modern California history. Faulty electrical transmission lines ignited the Camp
Fire, and winds quickly spread the fire downhill and into the town of Paradise, then home to 26,000
residents. Within two hours of the fire entering Paradise city limits, fleeing residents began abandoning
cars on the main road out of town because of gridlock and approaching flames. In total, the fire killed
85 people in Paradise and surrounding communities. The fire destroyed more than 18,000 structures,
including six of the nine retail gas stations serving Paradise.
Takeaways
•	Early action is key. Having the ability to gather
information on the fire zones in relation to UST
facilities helped Oregon DEQ determine quickly
which facilities were a priority to contact and
start triage.
•	Patience is important. Prioritize the work but
realize that wildfires are unpredictable and issues
such as road closures, power outages, and overall
safety of locations will slow response.
•	Plan for fuel removal. Fuel is valuable to UST
owners and operators and coordinating fuel removal
money a facility receives for fuel can help operators
liabilities.
quickly and efficiently is important. The
and removing the fuel can help limit
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September 2021
Camp Fire—Damaged UST Facilities
Prior to November 2018, 10 businesses operated UST facilities in Paradise, located in Butte County,
including nine retail gas stations and one AT&T facility with an emergency generator UST. As the
Camp Fire quickly burned through the town, structures were destroyed at six of the nine gas stations.
The other three gas stations and the AT&T facility lost power but did not suffer any serious damage.
Interestingly, one station that burned was located directly across the street from another that was
undamaged. See screenshot below for an UST Finder map of all ten locations.
Blue Dot: Facility Location, UST Finder Purple Dot: Damaged Facility |Pink A rea: Perimeter of Camp Fire
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September 2021
For up to six months, the Butte County Environmental
Health Department worked with facility owners to
remove fuel from all USTs at the six damaged facilities.
Contacting UST owners in the days and weeks after the
fire was difficult. All UST facility owners arranged for
fuel removal themselves, although California was
prepared to remove fuel at one site where the owner
initially requested assistance.
Takeaways
•	In a quick-moving wildfire, UST owners and operators may have very little time, perhaps
minutes instead of hours or days, before evacuating for their own safety.
•	Removing fuel from unmonitored, disconnected UST systems is a top priority for UST regulators
after evacuation orders are lifted. Uncertainty about the logistics of selling fuel back to
distributors or recyclers complicates the decision for some UST owners and causes delays about
how to proceed.
•	If UST owners do not have sufficient property insurance—which may be difficult to obtain in
wildfire-prone areas—owners of damaged facilities will likely be slower to decide if and how to
resume operations.
•	Even for UST owners with sufficient insurance, the time allotted by some states for UST
temporary closure may be insufficient for an UST facility destroyed by wildfire. The steps
needed to resume operations include more than testing, re-permitting, and potentially rebuilding
UST systems. Debris removal and the construction of new facilities, such as gas stations or
convenience stores, can take a significant amount of time after a natural disaster. Contact your
state implementing agency.
Being Ready
To understand the potential risk for wildfires, explore the U.S. Drought Monitor, which provides weekly
updates monitoring drought in the United States; see screenshot on the next page. The U.S. Drought
Monitor is jointly produced by the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-
Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA). It provides comprehensive and timely analysis for monitoring drought to
assist in assessing conditions conducive to wildfires.
When evacuation orders were lifted, Butte County UST inspectors visited each facility and found similar
damages at the six affected gas stations. Tanks, product piping, and dispenser islands appeared to be
unaffected. However, vent piping designed to prevent flammable vapors from accumulating in unsafe
locations were destroyed and possibly melted, pulled down by the weight of collapsing structures. Leak
detection monitoring systems located inside
convenience stores were also destroyed.
Image of impact of the Camp Fire on an UST
facility
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September 2021
The U.S. Drough t Monitor provides a series of maps depicting current
drought conditions.
U.S. Drought Monitor
June 29, 2021
(Released Thursday, Jul. 1, 2021)
Valid 8 a.m. EDT
\m « (I) m
droughtmonitor.unl.edu
Author:
Deborah Bathke
National Drought Mitigation Center
5	= Shotl-Tetm. typically less than
6	months (o.g agriculture, grasslands)
L = Long Term, typically greater than
6 rrontns (e.g. hydrology, ecology)
Intensity:
I I	None
I I	DO Abnormally Dry
~	01 Moderate Drought
|=|	02 Severe Drought
¦	03 Extreme Drought
¦	D4 Exceptional Drought
To prepare for wildfires, the National Fire Protection Association developed Wildfire Preparedness Tips.
The tips generally focus on private homes, but the information also applies to UST facilities.
Information on a broad range of prevention and recovery topics, which may be of interest to UST
owners or operators, is available on the National Association of Convenience Store's website. The US
Forest Service and NASA's Fire Information for Resource Management System provides direct alerts
for specific areas of interest, and you can tailor notifications for near real time, daily, or weekly. Direct
fire protection questions to your local fire professionals or state fire marshal's office.
As useful as the currently available fire protection resources are, they do not cover what an UST facility
owner or operator should consider as a wildfire approaches or what to consider as personnel evacuate
the facility.
There are certain actions that, if taken prior to leaving the facility, could minimize impacts to the UST
system and result in a more rapid re-start after the fire has passed and it is safe to re-enter the impacted
area. As a first step, consider developing a contingency plan that includes, but is not limited to:
•	A facility diagram identifying all UST locations and active remediation systems
•	Emergency contact information and notification procedures
•	Facility geospatial data, if not already contained in UST Finder
•	Checklist and inventory of items needed to maintain a minimum level of service after a wildfire
•	A list of UST contractors and testers
•	A list of money available for facility restoration
•	UST fire preparation and facility restoration checklists
•	Familiarity with operating emergency shutdown equipment, such as emergency stop switch,
pump control boxes, circuit breakers, and shear valves
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September 2021
An UST system consists of the underground tanks, associated piping, and fittings up to and including the
under-dispenser area. Most of an UST system is underground and more protected from impacts of fire
than other structures, such as fuel dispensers, which are aboveground. However, if aboveground system
components are damaged by wildfires, water from firefighting operations may enter the UST system.
That invasive water could have a corrosive effect on UST components. Additionally, with open ports to
the system, such as vents, there may be temperature fluctuations in the system. Corrosion is accelerated
by the presence of water and increases in temperature; a 9°F increase doubles the corrosion rate. UST
system corrosion may not be immediately evident.
The most visible and significant impacts of fire damage to UST systems are the aboveground parts of
systems. This includes dispensers; even though they are not part of UST systems, damage to dispensers
may indicate there has been damage to under-dispenser areas, which are part of UST systems. Vent
piping is another aboveground component that can be impacted by fire.
A de fensible space is an area around a building in which
vegetation, debris> and other types of combustible fuels
have been treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread
of fire to and from the building. Defensible space is the
buffer you create between a building on your property
and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that
surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the
spread of wildfire and it helps protect your facility from
catching fire — either from embers, direct flame contact,
or radiant heat. Proper defensible space also provides
firefighters a safe area to work in and defend your
facility.
Key Points To Consider In Case Of Wildfire
Emergency Stop Switch Or Emergency Shut-Off
If the emergency stop switch is activated, it shuts down power to the fuel dispensing system. National
fire codes require this switch, which can quickly and easily be activated as personnel evacuate the
premises. With no power to the pumps, fuel cannot be dispensed from the USTs. Understanding the
correct operation of the emergency stop switch is a key part of the required Class C operator training.
Shear Valve
Generally, a shear valve is thought of as a safety feature to protect against the risk of impact on the fuel
dispenser. The energy from an impact to the fuel dispenser causes a shear valve placed in line to the
fuel supply conduit to engage if there is a possibility that such impact could cause a leak of fuel to the
environment.
WILDFIRE IS COMING.
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DEFENSIBLE SPACE AND
HARDENING YOUR HOMI
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September 2021
Another use of the shear valve relates to fire.
When tripped, piping will be capped at two points
and limit the potential of fuel feeding the fire.
Some shear valves are manufactured to trip in the
event of fire. Others need to be manually tripped.
In the event of wildfire, when leaving your UST
facility, ensure the shear valves are tripped. This
helps protect your inventory of fuel and prevent it
from contributing to fire damage.
Have A Plan If Assistance Is Delayed
Because wildfires can impact large
sections of infrastructure, be aware
that emergency services may not be
immediately available in your area
due to other priorities. Consider
preparing a checklist of what could be
done as you wait for assistance to
arrive.
Inventory
A wildfire of enough intensity and duration can
affect portions of an UST system and result in a
release of product. The only way to check if there
has been a release of product from an UST is to regularly check the level of fuel in the tanks. Prior to
leaving your UST facility, inventory and record the fuel levels in your tanks so that when it is safe to re-
enter the site, you can determine if there was a loss of fuel, which may indicate an impact to your tanks.
Shut Off Power
During certain high-risk situations such as wildfires, a locality or electrical company may determine the
best course of action to prevent further spread of fire is to shut off power for a time. Any electric spark
could ignite combustible materials. Electrical current also produces heat and, if it produces enough heat,
could combust, and further add to the impending wildfire threat. When power is shut off, some elements
of an UST system will be inactive. These include your automatic tank gauge and some corrosion
protection systems for steel tanks. While the duration of this shut off could be minimal, it may take
some time post fire for you to receive permission to safely re-enter your property.
Consider these points if your system is equipped with an external turbine pump interface. The standard
control box interfaces between the fuel dispenser and turbine pump and indicates via a signal light when
a customer begins fueling. It is also designed as a lock-out-tag-out device to ensure safety during
maintenance. The benefit to de-energizing the standard control box is that if you throw the main breaker
to shut down everything, when returning and re-engaging the main breaker, the control box remains the
cut-off point of power to the pump on top of the tank. That acts as an additional safeguard and control
point to avoid sending electricity to a sump, dispenser pan, or other low point in the tank system that
could contain an explosive environment.
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September 2021
Wildfire Preparation
In addition to general fire preparation, there are some additional steps you might consider.
•	Ensure combustible debris is removed prior to every fire season and during high fire risk index
days.
•	Regularly check the Fire Danger Forecast developed by the US Geological Survey to assess the
current risk potential for wildfires in your area.
•	Ensure the vent valve is freely operating, not corroded, or stuck leaving a direct opening into the
tank. Visually inspect the elastomeric seals each season to ensure they are in good condition.
UST Finder: Near Real Time Fire Conditions
The Integrated Reporting of Wildland-Fire Information and National Interagency Fire Center provide
data that inform map layers of the "best-known point and perimeter locations of wildfire occurrences
within the United States over the past 7 days."2 Information on where wildfires are in near real time is
important to knowing whether an UST facility is vulnerable or not. This dataset is innate in UST Finder
and users can leverage it to identify facilities in or near active wildfires. With UST Finder open, select
the Layer List on the bottom left most widget. Within the layer list there are two wildfire datasets
available—perimeters or polygons and incidents or point locations. Turn on the wildfire layers and
facility layers to explore facilities near or within wildfire areas; see screenshot below.
o Closed UST(s)
COPPER CANYON INCIDENT
Type: Wildfire Daily Fire Perimeter
Acres Burned: 2,875.18
Current as of5/11/2021. 5:52 PM
Open UST(s)
Releases
Q Current Wildfires - Perimeters
h, Wildfire Daily Fire Perimeti
Prescribed Fire
Current Wildfires - Incidents
Near real time fire parameter and nearby UST facilities
2 https://epa.maps.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=d957997ccee7408287a963600a77f61f
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September 2021
What To Do As The Fire Approaches Your Facility
Above all, personal safety is always of primary importance. However, if possible, the following table
lists recommended activities depending on how far away the fire is when the facility is evacuated.
Recommended Actions For UST Facilities
Item
Preparation
Every
Season
If You Have
Days To
Prepare
If You Have
Hours To
Prepare
If Evacuation
Is Imminent
Take photos or video of the
system.
y



Keep valves open on
aboveground piping to avoid
isolating a section without a
relief valve.
y
y
y
y
Secure power at the electrical
panel by turning off the circuit
breakers to all dispensers,
pumps, and air compressors. If
possible, leave the tank
monitoring system turned on.

y
y

Turn off the submersible pumps
at the standard control box.

y
y

If available, print an inventory
and status report from the
environmental monitoring
system. If not available, note
tank inventory.

y
y

Close shear valve (also known
as dispenser crash or
emergency valve).

y
y

Install signs that facility is
closed.

y
y

Depress the emergency stop
switch.



y
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September 2021
Recovery
After a major wildfire event, assessing the extent of burn inundation near UST facilities can help screen
for a facility that may have been impacted. The USD A Forest Service Rapid Assessment of Vegetation
Condition after Wildfire (RAVG) program produces geospatial data and maps of post fire vegetation
conditions using standardized change detection methods based on Landsat or similar multispectral
satellite imagery.3 This dataset of burn severity post wildfire can be used in UST Finder to assess the
severity of burning which occurred near or on UST facilities. To access this information in UST Finder,
select the Add Data widget and type RMRS FIRESEV. Add the layer to UST Finder's Layer List, per
screenshot below.
UST Finder: Post Event Screening
QQO
I ArcGIS Online	» RMRS FIRESEV
; rm Within map.	Type » Relevance *
v» RMRS FIRESEV Severe Fire Potential
1 i*i,	ad° oe™
- Q 2020 Composite Burn Index
H Unchanged
HI Low Severity
~ Moderate Severity
H High Severity
I I Unmappable
~ ~ 2019 Composite Burn Index
Importing wildfire burn severity data into UST Finder
rtfrf
Vv&Y}
¦ -r fa.
¦PPPPP
0
	
mmm-r
~	Q 2018 Composite Burn Index
• ~ 2017 Composite Burn Index
~	Q 2016 Composite Burn Index
~	Q] 2015 Composite Bum Index
>Tn20^^ornpc^iteBunWndex
In this screenshot, the burn severity for the 2020 wildfire in Arizona ranges from unchanged or dark
green to high severity or red. With the facilities layer on, users can determine the proximity of UST
facilities or blue points to burn areas. By clicking on an UST facility, users can find information about
both the facility and individual USTs, including proximity to public drinking water intakes, fuels stored,
age of tanks, and tank capacities.
3 https://epa.maps.arcgis.com/home/item.html?id=8al368a48f90408c917fe26ceba30cbc
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September 2021
Depending on the duration and intensity of the wildfire, damage can range from minor to complete
destruction. Carefully performing a visual inspection of your facility is important to document the
extent of the damage. This inspection includes elements of the UST system, as well as aboveground
components integral to the facility itself. Using accepted industry checklists or your state mandated
monthly, annual, and triennial checklists are a good place to start. See the table on the following page
for next steps to take for certain situations you might find when you return to your facility following a
wildfire event.
Getting The All Clear To Re-enter Facility
You can be notified of an impending wildfire and the potential need to
evacuate your facility in different ways. You might see it on local TV, hear
about it on radio, or learn about it directly from someone. You also need to
be notified of when it is safe to return. Write down the name and number of
the coordinator; who is the best contact for answering questions and
providing clear instructions on when it is safe to re-enter your facility.
Find that contact through:
Your local fire department. They will connect you with whomever can give
you the most current information.
or
Your state's noil -emergency number. They will connect you with whomever
can give you the most current information.
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September 2021
Steps To Take When Returning To Your UST Facility
Visually inspect the dispenser, piping and vent piping, and all physical components to look
for signs of damage or fire effects. Compare the system to before photos, if available.
Compare the tank inventory to the before inventory.
If:
Then:
For vent piping—there is
any sign of fire damage
such as scorched piping,
melted plastic, or any
telltale of excessive heat
from the fire in or near the
facility
• As soon as practicable after the facility is in operation, a
qualified person should inspect the vent and vent valve to
ensure it is properly working and plastic parts are
undamaged.
There is significant fire
damage near the dispensers
and the piping or equipment
is deformed, melted,
leaking, collapsed, or
showing similar failure
•	Closely inspect the under-dispenser area.
•	Complete a comprehensive electrical test and inspection;
replace wiring, conduits, and components as necessary.
•	Test all sensors, probes, alarms, and safety devices.
•	Replace all failed components.
There is damaged paint, or
other evidence that the
dispenser was affected by
fire, but the system appears
otherwise intact
•	Determine if there is any damage by testing the UST
system, according to industry standards or manufacturer
instructions.
•	Complete a comprehensive electrical test and inspection;
replace wiring, conduits, and components as necessary.
•	Test all sensors, probes, alarms, and safety devices.
There is unexplained
product loss or inventory
discrepancy
•	Report a release to regulatory authorities.
•	Complete a comprehensive physical inspection of all
accessible portions of tanks, piping, and components.
The system appears intact,
and none of the above
conditions are present
•	Hire a licensed electrician to inspect the electrical system
and restore power to the system.
•	Test all monitoring system probes, sensors, alarms, and the
emergency stop switch system. Check operability of
impressed current cathodic protection system, if installed.
•	If at any time a system is functioning incorrectly or
anything fails testing, suspend all restart work until you
identify and correct the source of the problem.
•	Turn the submersible pumps back on at the standard
control box.
There is fuel remaining in
tanks
•	Determine the quality of the fuel, check for water ingress.
•	Determine what to do with that fuel. Are you going to be
re-opening with no need for additional repairs? Is damage
significant such that you should consider whether to pump
out or sell remaining fuel?
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September 2021
Debris Flow Fields—Post Wildfires And Precipitation
Be aware of additional threats even after a wildfire has moved through an area. In some parts of the
country, wildfires can cause conditions that create mudslide risks. Wildfires can significantly alter the
hydrologic response of a watershed where even moderate rainstorms can produce dangerous flash floods
and debris flows. Wildfires leave soil charred, barren, and unable to absorb water, creating the
conditions for flash flooding, debris flow, or mudflow as illustrated below. Facilities in proximity to
wildfire areas, especially those downgradient, may be subject to developing debris flow fields
During normal
conditions, vegetation
helps absorb rainwater.
But after an intense wildfire,
burned vegetation and
charred soil form a water
repellent layer, blocking
water absorption.
|M%
During the next rainfall,
water bounces off of the
soil.
Degree of Land Slope
Higher degrees of land slope
speed up water flow and
increase flood risk.
As a result, properties located below or downstream of the bum
areas are at an increased risk for flooding.
Flash Floods
Intense rainfall can flood low-
lying areas in less than six
hours. Flash floods roll
boulders, tear out trees and
destroy buildings and bridges.
Mudflows
Rivers of liquid and flowing
mud are caused by a
combination of brush loss
and subsequent heavy
rains. Rapid snowmelt can
also trigger mudflows.
Debris flow fields post-wildfires :httvs://asents.floodsmart20v/sii:es/defaiili/files/FEMA-¥AF-hifosravhic-ENG-
web 508 0U52021.pdf
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September 2021
Aboveground storage tanks, or ASTs, have been used to store multiple substances for years. The
evolution of storage tank standard design means ASTs properly respond to outside factors. Storage
tanks systems include design elements to allow the tank to withstand exposure to fire without causing a
catastrophic failure. As a result, while the material in the AST may be consumed in the fire as the
heated vapor is burned off, liquid material should not be released to the environment.
•	The tank contents absorb heat as the material boils off, which helps prevent the tank shell from
failing while liquid is present.
•	The tank emergency vent system serves to release excess pressure generated by the contents
exposed to heat and to limit the introduction of oxygen into the tank interior. Insufficient oxygen
will help ensure the heated tank vapors will not combust until the heated vapor has left the
storage tank.
Proper maintenance of the AST system is
The first step in wildfire preparation is to confirm that your AST system is designed, installed, and
operated according to industry standards, construction standards, and conformity to the local fire codes
for the specific storage tank system. If design documentation is unavailable, an evaluation by a qualified
tank system inspector can serve to confirm compliance with regulatory requirements and identify
possible issues. Critical elements include:
important to ensure safety equipment will respond
as designed. This includes placement of the tank
away from structures and property lines to limit
exposure to burning material and allowing access.
The AST is also required to incorporate functional
and necessary safety equipment to ensure the AST
system responds predictably to fire. It is also
important to limit the amount of combustible
materials and vegetation in the area of the tank
system with good housekeeping practices and
proper landscape maintenance.
Properly Designated ASTs
A properly designed, built, and
maintained aboveground storage tank
can withstand limited exposure to fire
with limited consequences, and if the
exposure is long or severe the tank
contents will be forced to boil off from
the tank and be consumed by the fire
in ait area above the tank.
Being Ready
Wildfire Preparation
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September 2021
•	Properly constructed storage tanks and tank foundations are located away from structures and
property lines according to fire code
•	Proper tank venting, including emergency vents
•	A piping system that includes an anti-siphon mechanism to prevent the release of contents should
the piping fail
•	A properly installed electrical system
•	If the tank system has below grade components, such as product piping, the location of those
items should be documented, corrosion protection may be required, and a form of leak detection
is recommended
•	Tank system should have an emergency power disconnect that can quickly de-energize the tank
components and secure the tank contents into the tank
•	Performing regular monthly and annual tank inspections per a recognized inspection standard
that assures functionality of the important tank system elements
•	Area around the tank should be kept free of combustible materials and vegetation including
vegetation that overhangs the tank
•	Properly labeling the tank and its contents to help emergency responders identify contents
•	Tank is registered with either the applicable state, local, or tribal code official or fire marshal
•	Reaching out to the fire department, which would be first to respond for your location
•	Reaching out to out your Local Emergency Planning Committee, Tribal Emergency Planning
Committee, State Emergency Response Commission, or Tribal Emergency Response
Commission.
•	Identifying the circuit breakers in the facility circuit panel that supplies power to the AST system
What To Do As The Fire Approaches Your Facility
Above all, personal safety is always of primary importance. There are, however, actions you can take
that will aid in your post-fire recovery. As the fire approaches:
•	Attempt to record tank inventory prior to shutting the system down
•	Shut down the tank system using the tank emergency shutdown system and, if possible, isolate
the system electrical components by turning off the power to the system at the facility circuit
panel by turning the power off at the circuit breakers
The following table lists recommended activities depending on how far away the fire is when the facility
is evacuated.
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September 2021
Recommended Actions For AST Facilities
Item
Preparation
Every
Season
If You
Have Days
To Prepare
If You Have
Hours To
Prepare
if
Evacuation
Is Imminent
Keep the AST area clear of brush,
grass and other fire sources.
Keep surrounding areas mowed
and maintained.
y



Inspect tank for key safety device
functionality, especially the
emergency vents.
y
y


Keep valves open on
aboveground piping to avoid
isolating a section without a relief
valve.
y
y
y
y
Secure power at the electrical
panel by turning off the circuit
breakers to all dispensers, pumps,
and air compressors. If possible,
leave the tank monitoring system
turned on.

y
y

If available, print an inventory
and status report from the
environmental monitoring
system. If unavailable, note tank
inventory.

y
y

Take photos or video of the
system.

y
y

Remove combustibles, stored
equipment, drums, and other
unnecessary items from the AST
area.

y
y

Close shear valve (also known as
dispenser crash or emergency
valve).

y
y

Install signs that facility is closed.

y
y

If there is a safe means available,
relieve pressure from
aboveground piping.

y
y

Depress the emergency stop
switch.



y
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September 2021
Recovery
Any AST system requires careful evaluation and possibly formal inspection after fire exposure. Below
are specific points to consider:
•	Allow the AST system to return to ambient temperatures before any evaluation or inspection
begins.
•	Use an appropriate and published consensus standard inspection checklist as a guide to tank
system evaluation. If any components of the system show evidence of damage or heat exposure,
a qualified tank inspector4 or petroleum equipment technician should evaluate the AST system.
Signs of damage include melted or heat damaged components, blistered paint on the tank system,
or a shifting of tank components.
•	Evaluate the AST secondary containment system to make sure it is still intact and can serve its
intended purpose.
•	Check the quantity of petroleum in the tank, and if there is a significant change in the tank's
liquid level of more than 5 percent loss or increase5 from the last known inventory, have a
qualified tank inspector evaluate the tank system.
•	Check the primary tank and interstice of a double-walled tank for the presence of water during
this evaluation. If a loss of product has occurred, identify the cause of the loss, and correct or
repair the cause of the product loss in according to an appropriate consensus standard. Because
the loss could indicate some material boil off occurred, inspect the tank system and evaluate the
tank product because exposure to heat can degrade products stored.
4	A qualified inspector will typically be certified under STI SP001 or API 653.
5	Firefighting water may enter the AST system.
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September 2021
Steps To Take When Returning To Your AST Facility
Visually inspect the AST, piping, and all physical components to look for signs of damage or
fire effects. Compare the system to before photos, if available. Compare the post fire AST
inventory to the before fire inventory.
If:
Then:
There is significant fire
damage, and the tank,
piping, or equipment is
deformed, melted,
leaking, collapsed, or
showing similar states of
failure
•	The system may have failed and needs to be repaired or replaced.
•	Complete internal tank inspection according to appropriate industry
standard if tank and its associated equipment—such as piping,
appurtenances, and safety equipment—remains in service. This may
include an inspection by a certified AST inspector.
•	Complete comprehensive electrical test and inspection by a licensed
electrician; replace wiring, conduits, and components as necessary.
•	Test all sensors, probes, alarms, and safety devices.
•	Replace the affected tank, piping, and equipment.
•	After new replacement system is installed, test the entire system,
including tanks, piping, and equipment according to NFPA 30,
manufacturer instructions, applicable requirements under 40 CFR part
112, Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) rule (see
note below) if the facility is SPCC regulated or other appropriate
industry standards.
•	If the facility has an SPCC plan required under 40 CFR part 112,
amend the plan to reflect changes to the AST.
There is damaged paint or
other evidence that the
system may have been
affected by fire, but the
system appears otherwise
intact
•	Complete tests of tanks and piping, according to industry standards or
manufacturer instructions.
•	Complete comprehensive electrical test and inspection by a licensed
electrician; replace wiring, conduits, and components as necessary.
•	Test all sensors, probes, alarms, and safety devices.
There is unexplained
product loss or an
inventory discrepancy
•	Report a discharge to applicable federal, state, local, or tribal
regulatory authorities.
•	Complete a comprehensive physical inspection of all tanks, piping, and
components.
The system appears
intact, and none of the
above conditions are
present
•	Hire a licensed electrician to inspect the electrical system and restore
power to the system.
•	Test all monitoring system probes, sensors, alarms, and the emergency
stop switch system.
•	If at any time a system is functioning incorrectly or anything fails
testing, suspend all restart work until you identify and correct the
source of the problem.
Note\ The SPCC Rule at 40 CFR Part 112, requires certain AST facilities to prepare and implement oil discharge
prevention plan. The plans may be either professional engineer certified or self-certified by the facility owner or
operator. One of the requirements of plan holders is to amend their SPCC plan when there is a change in the
facility design, construction operation, or maintenance that materially affects its potential for a discharge to
navieable waters or adioinine shorelines. For more information on the SPCC proeram: httt)s://www.et)a.eov/oil-
SDills-Drcvcntion-and-DrcDarcdncss-rcaulations.
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September 2021
Financial Assistance Available To UST And Oil AST
Owners And Operators
The availability of money sometimes determines the priority UST and oil AST owners and operators can
take for recovering from wildfires and bringing tank systems back into operation. Money may be
available for prompt immediate actions that must be taken to protect health, safety, and the environment.
Money may also be available for longer term cleanup and site recovery.
For UST And Oil AST Owners And Operators
•	Di sast eras si stance. gov is a joint data-sharing effort between federal, tribal, state, local, and
private sector partners. At this website, tank owners and operators can:
o Find disaster assistance that meets personal needs
o Learn about more than 70 forms of assistance from 17 federal agencies
o Apply for disaster assistance online
o Find a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center
o Learn about Small Business Administration loans for homeowners, renters, and
businesses
•	Various sources, including non-profits, private, local, state, and federal, may provide financial
assistance for business recovery.
•	USA.gov is the federal government's official online guide to government resources and services.
For information on receiving emergency individual financial assistance after a disaster, see
Disaster Financial Assistance.
•	Visit benefits.gov to learn about applying for disaster relief benefits.
•	FEMA's Public Assistance Program supports communities' recovery from major disasters by
providing grant assistance. Local governments, states, tribes, territories, and certain private
nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply.
•	The Small Business Administration offers low interest loans for businesses if their insurance and
funding from the FEMA doesn't fully cover the needed disaster assistance.
•	During some disasters, states may also request that FEMA assign and fund EPA to provide direct
assistance with oil and hazardous materials cleanup. This is accomplished under the Oil and
Hazardous Materials Response section, that is, Emergency Support Function 10 [ESF-10] of the
National Response Framework.
o Facility owners do not request ESF-10 assistance directly from FEMA or EPA. Only a
state may request assistance under this mechanism, and FEMA may require a state to
contribute a percentage of the ESF-10 costs. For more information, see National
Response Framework and select ESF-10.
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September 2021
For UST Owners And Operators
•	State financial assurance programs may provide loans and grants to eligible owners and
operators for corrective actions, where applicable. For more information, see UST state financial
assurance funds on EPA's UST website.
•	State trust funds may reimburse responsible parties or third parties for corrective actions related
to UST releases if certain prerequisites for coverage are met.
•	In an emergency, states may use Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund money
to conduct emergency responses, site assessments, or corrective actions. In non-emergency
situations, states may use LUST Trust Fund money to conduct site assessments or corrective
actions where the responsible party is unknown, unwilling, or unable to respond.
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September 2021
Resources And Links
General
•	U.S. EPA Emergency Response Program
•	U.S. EPA Natural Disasters website
•	U.S. EPA Wildfires website
•	British Columbia, Canada Fire Smart principles
•	California Camp Fire
•	Federal Register Hazardous Chemical: Community Right to Know: Hazardous Chemical
Reporting Thresholds
•	National Association of Convenience Stores Gas Stations Contend With Western Wildfires
•	National Association of Convenience Stores Emergency Planning Resources
Checklists For Inspecting Underground Storage Tank Systems
•	Petroleum Equipment Institute (PEI) Recommended Practice (RP) 900 Annual UST Inspection
Checklist
•	PEI RP 900 Monthly UST Inspection Checklist
•	PEI RP 900 Daily UST Inspection Checklist
Data
•	U.S. Forest Service Wildfire Hazard Potential dataset
•	University of Nebraska at Lincoln U.S. Drought Monitor droughtmonitor .unl. edu
•	National Fire Protection Association Wildfire Preparedness Tips
•	U.S. Forest Service and NASA Fire Information for Resource Management System
•	U.S. Geological Survey Fire Danger Forecast
Underground Storage Tanks Specific Resources
•	U.S. EPA Flood Guide
•	U.S. EPA Operating and Maintaining Underground Storage Tank Systems: Practical Help and
Checklists
Aboveground Storage Tanks Specific Resources
•	U.S. EPA SPCC Oil Spills Prevention and Preparedness Regulations
•	U.S. EPA How to Report Spills and Environmental Violations
•	U.S. EPA When are You Required to Report an Oil Spill and Hazardous Substance Release?
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September 2021
•	U. S. EPA Overview of the Discharge of Oil Regulation (Sheen Rule)
•	U.S. EPA Oil Discharge Reporting Requirements Factsheet
•	American Petroleum Institute (API) DESIGNATION - API STD 653 5TH ED (El) CAD (A2)
Tank Inspection. Repair. Alteration, and Reconstruction; for purchase
•	Steel Tank Institute (STI) SP001 Standard for The Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks.
6th Edition; for purchase
•	STI Frequently Asked Questions About SP001
•	STI SP031 Standard for Repair of Shop Fabricated Aboveground Tanks. 5th Edition - PDF
format; for purchase
Aboveground Storage Tanks: Other Fuels
•	Propane and Liquefied Propane Tanks Wildfire
•	Vehicular Natural Gas Fuel Systems Code. NFPA 52
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United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
United States Environmental Protection Agency
540IT
Washington, DC 20460
EPA 510-B-21-001
September 2021

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