The United States is in the middle of yet another devastating wildfire season. Vast tracts of land in the west are burning out of control, structures are going up in flames, and people and wildlife have been killed and displaced. Nineteen firefighters lost their lives in Arizona in June when they were overcome by fire.
How can we avoid these uncontrollable, devastating fires? Unpredictable winds, dry lightning, and plenty of tinder-dry fuel make a volatile combination. The question is can you do anything to stop the fire before it starts?
The most obvious solution is to eliminate human caused fires. It is estimated by the US National Park Service that people start as much as 90 percent of them. Do not go target shooting, use spark-producing power tools, drive off the road or light any kind of fire when conditions are dry. Do not drop a cigarette butt - better yet don’t even smoke where all it takes is a single spark.
When it comes to fires caused by lightning, there is nothing anyone can do. If you live in an area prone to wildfire, there are steps you can take to assist firefighters who will try to save your home and property.
Be aware of weather reports that predict the possibility of storms. Remove trees, grasses and other vegetation within 30 to 100 feet of your home, providing a defensible gap between the structure and the fire. Keep that area free of debris, including leaves and branches, and keep any lawn cut. If you are building a new home in a prone area, chose materials that do not burn readily. Use fire retardant on existing structures that are UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approved to make your home less combustible.
Do not store flammable materials in a building or shed that can burn and is close to other buildings. Be sure to stack firewood at least 100 feet from your home, and rotate it regularly so the driest wood is used in your fireplace instead of as fuel for Mother Nature.
Check out the list included with this article and learn how you can survive a wildfire.
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Source: CNN, Weather Channel, US National Park Service