Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They can spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes. Reduce your risk by preparing now, before wildfire strikes. Meet with your family to decide what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area.
Conditions That Cause Wildfires
Prolonged drought can cause tender plants to die and dry out, creating fuel for wildfires.
Cold weather, particularly during drought, speeds the dying and drying process.
Thunderstorms bring only limited relief when the woods are dry. Plants and trees dry again quickly, leaving potential for wildfire.
Wind dries plants and trees, and can cause fires to spread.
Burning on windy days increases the potential for wildfire.
Simply Ways to Protect Your Home and Family
- Regularly clean roof and gutters.
- Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Code 211.
- Use 1/2" inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas and the home itself. Screen openings to floors, roof and attic.
- Install a smoke detector on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Test the smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries two times a year. A helpful reminder is to change the batteries when the time changes in the spring and fall.
- Make sure your home has an ABC type fire extinguisher. Teach everyone in your family how to use the fire extinguisher, and show them where it is kept.
- Have a ladder on hand that will reach the roof.
- Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
- Keep handy household items like a rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket and shovel that can be used as fire fighting tools.
- Have a garden hoses on outside taps that are long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property. Equip garden hoses with spray-gun nozzles.
- Know where fuel supply shut off valve is. Normally they are at the tank or meter. Check with your fuel supply company.
- Make sure you have a portable radio and backup batteries.
Family Disaster Plan for Wildfires
- Meet with your family now to decide what to do and where to go if wildfire threatens your home.
- Place emergency phone numbers by the phone. Include your local fire station’s phone number.
- Decide where you will go and how you will get there if you have to evacuate. With fire, you may have only a moment’s notice to evacuate. When practical, plan at least 2 escape routes out of your home and out of your neighborhood.
- Keep firefighting tools handy. Items to include are a shovel, rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, and a 2-gallon bucket.
- Have a plan for your pets.
- Practice family fire drills.
- Identify a family meeting place in case all members of the family aren’t home when an evacuation takes place.
- Make sure your children understand what to do if a fire threatens.