Going along with the thinking “it’ll never happen to me” is not the smartest thing to do. How many people do you know who don’t have health insurance, homeowner’s insurance, etc. Assuming you can afford to protect yourself from potential unexpected circumstances destroying you financially, it would make sense that you would want to protect yourself physically as well, even when the circumstances are unlikely. In certain places, wildfires are more common than they are in others, specifically in wildlands. A wildfire is unlikely to spread to a major metropolitan area, but living in the suburbs, near forests and woodlands, you never know when one may ignite. In the USA alone, there are nearly 45 million homes and more than 72,000 communities at risk of wildfires. Should you be one such person, living in a community at risk, here are some wildfire safety tips. Even if you live in a city, you never know when you might be passing through or visiting one of these areas, so it’s better safe than sorry to be aware of how to react to such situations.
- Don’t have any kind of debris remain on your property as it can fuel the fire even further.
- Make sure any grass or plants growing on your property is properly maintained. Should they dry out, they become perfect fuel for a wildfire.
- You shouldn’t have any flammable materials within 30 feet of the foundation of your home, for obvious reasons.
- Dispose of any dead vegetation within 10 feet of your home.
- Clear your gutters, roof-space, porches, and decks of any leaves or debris.
Don’t Be Caught Off-Guard
- Have a plan for how to evacuate with your family. Know how you will get out of the range of the fire and designate a meeting place for your family.
- Keep an emergency supply kit in a safe location, with important medications and documents.
- Find out if you live in a high-risk area from your local planning/zoning office.
- Speak with your local fire department for any tips they might have about preparation and evacuation.
- Learn how you can help your community.
How to Act
- Keep up-to-date on the news. Prepare yourself and your family to evacuate.
- Your emergency supply kit and any other valuables you don’t want destroyed should be placed within your vehicle.
- Anything that can catch fire (cushions, doormats, potted plants, etc.) should be moved as far away from your home as possible.
- Make sure any openings to your home are closed.
- Leave as soon as you possibly can. Don't delay.
- Continue listening to the news so you know the status of the fire.
- Only return home when authorities say that it’s OK.
Reacting properly to reports of a wildfire in your area can mean the difference between life and death. It’s better to have evacuated and not needed to than to need to evacuate and not evacuate. There’s no point in risking it all because you think it won’t reach your property. Your life is worth more.
Have you ever experienced a wildfire? Sound off in the comments section down below.
Check out our other post on The Worst Wildfires for more information.
Barak Bacharach, SkySaver Content Manager