Stay Aware During Wildfire Season
As summer continues to heat up, so do the dangers of wildfires
Written By Meghaan Evans
Wildfires are often considered to be one of the most powerful natural disasters known to man. It is important to exercise extra caution in the spring and summer, especially in drier climates.
According to NOAA, 65,575 fires burned 5,446,520 acres of land throughout the United States. In the past 28 years, more than 250 million acres of land have burned, and tens of billions of dollars have been spent in federal suppression firefighting costs.
While some fires are caused by lightning— about 10,000 a year—nine out of 10 are caused by people. There are measures you can take to prevent fires from happening, and there are ways to keep you, your family and your home safe during a wildfire.
Follow these helpful tips from Firewise.org:
- Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
- Remove dead vegetation from under your deck and within 10 feet of the house.
- Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.
- Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
- Remove flammable materials—firewood stacks, propane tanks, dry vegetation—within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and out buildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, do not let it touch your house, deck or porch.
- Wildfire can spread to treetops. If you have trees on your property, prune so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
- Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfires.
- Do not let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
- Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair those that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
- Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 of an inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
- Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screens with metal mesh to prevent ember entry.
For more fire safety tips and information, visit Firewise.org or the National Interagency Fire Center’s website.