Because I apparently like having things burn down, I've come across having to write this situation several times in various stories. Fortunately, I've never experienced a house fire, and so I'd like to check the details of it.
Question: What are the ruins of a building like directly after a fire? Probably no longer than the next day after the fire?
Googled: fire aftermath, procedure after house fire, house fire medieval, firefighting pre-modern, effects of fire on stone house, what to do after house fire, cleaning up after house fire. I also went through the tags (architecture, arson, catastrophes, firefighting, fires).
Setting: Fantasy world, so basic medieval technology. There's the capability of using water magic to fight the fire, but it wouldn't be the same strength as a fire hose and they'd have to get pretty close, so it probably doesn't help much in this situation. I have two fairly isolated burned places, both attacked via army or mob, so no one's making bucket chains or trying to prevent other property from being damaged. Basically they're left to burn.
My googling unfortunately has only really given me information about modern house fires and insurance adjusters, and those all assume, as they would, that the fire department has cleared you to come back in. I've found some images of houses in various states of burned-down, inside and out, and some information about the spread of fire in a stone building. So, I have the visuals okay, and I know about the smoke smell on everything.
However, currently I don't have characters actually experiencing the fire, but rather coming along afterward. If someone was poking through the ruins, would they come across hot spots a day later, still? I've seen pictures of fire aftermath where the stone rubble was still smoking, but unfortunately I don't know how long afterward the pictures were taken.
I suppose in the end my most pressing question is: a day after a building fire that wasn't put out with water, would my characters be able to enter the area of a burned-down building, or are they forced to hang around outside because of the visible smoldering? (I imagine they would enter if it *looked* okay, as I doubt these particular characters would know anything about fire aftermath either, but the hidden danger might still be present.) Heck, would it still be burning? If not, how long might it take to cool if it's still hot the next day? Would it make a difference if the building was made of stone? Okay, that's more than one question...
I hope that makes sense! Thank you in advance!
ETA: Thank you all for the great info and ideas! I'll probably have to change some things around, but at least it will be more realistic now!