As people increasingly build homes near wilderness areas, creating what is known as the wildland-urban interface (WUI), the chance of a wildfire is greatly increased and communities are put in serious danger.
Although wildfires are a natural occurrence, often brought on when hot, dry winds ignite dry vegetation, human activity causes most wildfires in the US. But people living near wilderness areas aren’t only at risk of contributing to a wildfire, they’re also at risk of being harmed by one. Any home located within one mile of a natural area can become ignited by wind-driven embers from a blaze, which can quickly spread throughout the community.
If you live in an area that is susceptible to wildfire, there are steps you can take to protect your property. Better yet, you can play a broader part in lessening the wildfire risk and help keep your community safe. Here are 4 simple ways you can go beyond your own front door and increase wildfire safety for you and your neighbors.
1. Keep Your Property Well-Maintained
An effective way of preventing fires in your community is to remove sources of fuel from your property. Any overgrown or dry vegetation in your backyard is ideal fuel for a raging wildfire, so it’s crucial that you keep your property clear of such combustibles with regular gardening time.
But it’s not just the trees and plants in your yard that could pose a risk. There are probably other potential fire hazards on your property as well, notably sources of ignition such as electrical equipment, chemicals, or grills and outdoor cooking equipment. These should be removed responsibly if you no longer need them, or stored carefully if you do.
2. Have Fire Safety Equipment Handy
Maintaining a supply of household fire safety equipment is essential for any home, but especially houses in the wildlands. Smoke alarms should always be in use, and every home and automobile should have at least one fire extinguisher. These tools allow small fires to be detected and extinguished before they can grow larger and affect the wider rural area.
Homeowners and property managers should always keep fire suppression and retardant tools handy if they’re located in the wildlands. This prevents the spread of fire onto properties when there’s a blaze nearby. It’s important to remind everyone in the community to keep these supplies charged and ready, so there will be a zone of protection throughout the area.
3. Educate Others on Fire Safety
Educating others in your community about wildfire prevention and safety helps strengthen the overall effort. When everyone in the area is aware of the dangers and how to handle them, the community is much safer.
Such education efforts may include distributing informational literature in your neighborhood, speaking at a homeowners association meeting, or even assisting in teaching fire safety to children at schools, scouting events, or other youth activities. The U.S. Fire Administration and other organizations have materials available to help you educate your community.
4. Become a Volunteer Fire Lookout
Want to be even more involved in wildfire safety?
One of the best ways to keep wildfires contained is to spot and report them before they have a chance to spread. The Forest Fire Lookout Association (FFLA) consists of lookout enthusiasts, hikers, conservationists, forest fire personnel, foresters, and anyone else who would like to contribute to these early-warning efforts. Volunteers with the FFLA can act as lookouts and help maintain lookout sites. Contact your local FFLA chapter for more information.
Visit National Fire Fighter’s store today to find all the products you need to protect your property from wildfires and keep your rural community safe.