Tips for Preventing Wildfires

By Abby Berry

In 2016 more than 65,000 wildfires burned 5.4 million acres of land in the United States, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. The worst part? Many of these wildfires could have been prevented.

Approximately 90 percent are caused by humans. Many times, wildfires occur when campfires are left unattended, debris is burned improperly or cigarettes are carelessly discarded.

A wildfire can grow rapidly out of control when three conditions are present: oxygen, fuel and a heat source. Fuel can be any flammable material near the wildfire, and the heat source can be a variety of things, including campfires, cigarettes or even warm winds.

By taking a few precautions, campers and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the sights of nature without causing a wildfire. Following are some tips from National Geographic to help prevent wildfires.

  • Never leave a fire unattended. Make sure it is completely extinguished when done. Drench the fire with water and stir the ashes until cold.
  • Play it safe when using fueled lanterns, heaters and stoves. Lighting and heating devices should be cool before refueling. Keep flammable liquids and fuel away from appliances.
  • Never discard cigarettes, matches and smoking materials from moving vehicles. Completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.
  • When burning yard waste, follow local ordinances. Avoid burning in windy conditions, and keep a shovel, water and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check.

If you find yourself in the path of a wildfire, evacuate immediately. Listen to local emergency notifications for the most up-to-date information. Visit for more information about wildfire safety and prevention.