Today’s blog comes from Michelle Fidler, National Park Service Fire Communication and Education Specialist.
March 26 - April 1, 2017 is Southwest Wildfire Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Wildfire doesn’t have to be a disaster. Little things you do now will make a big difference.” The focus of the week is to increase awareness and to promote actions that reduce the risk from wildfire to homes and communities.
Here are seven simple steps you can take to prepare for wildfire:
- Clear: Clear off pine needles, dead leaves and anything that can burn from your rooflines, gutters, decks, porches, patios and along fence lines. This way, falling embers will have nothing to burn.
- Store: Store away furniture cushions, rattan mats, potted plants and other decorations from decks, porches and patios. These items catch embers and help ignite your home if you leave them outside.
- Screen & Seal: Wind-borne embers can get into your home easily through vents and other openings and burn your home from the inside out. Walk around your house to see what openings you can screen or temporarily seal up.
- Rake: Embers landing in mulch that touches your house, deck or fence is a big fire hazard. Rake out any landscaping mulch to at least five feet away.
- Trim: Trim back any shrubs or tree branches that come closer than five feet to the house and attachments, and any overhanging branches.
- Remove: Walk around your house and remove anything within 30 feet that could burn, such as woodpiles, spare lumber, vehicles and boats— anything that can act as a large fuel source.
- Close: If ordered to evacuate, make sure you close all windows and doors tightly, and seal up any pet doors. Many homes are destroyed by embers entering these openings and burning the house from the inside out.
Become Fire Adapted
Wildfire is everyone’s responsibility. Being a fire adapted community means that everyone in the community, from homeowners and fire fighters, to land managers and civic leaders, does their part to prepare for the next wildfire.
Wildfire threat is a reality to over 70,000 communities across the United States. It’s not if, but when. Make sure your community is prepared .
Damage from wildfire has far reaching impacts beyond a damaged neighborhood. We must all work together to become more fire adapted.
A fire adapted community is a knowledgeable and engaged community where the awareness and actions of residents regarding infrastructure, buildings, landscaping, and the surrounding ecosystem lessens the need for extensive protection actions and enables the community to safely accept fire as a part of the surrounding landscape.
|June 10, 2016 38E fire|
Photo by: AZ State Forestry
A public service announcement video aims to empower residents to take these steps by reinforcing that “you can’t control where a wildfire ember will land— but you can control what happens when it does.” This is the reality many communities face when living with fire.
The fire adapted program encourages homeowners, land managers, community leaders and fire and emergency responders in these communities to visit http://fireadapted.org/ to learn their role in reducing wildfire damage and steps to better prepare for a wildfire.
For current fire information, wildfire prevention and preparenedss tips, and restrictions and closures information throughout the year, visit http://wildlandfire.az.gov and follow @wildlandfireAZ.