In 2017 approximately 9.8 million acres were burned by wildfire in the United States. These fires occurred in both wildland and residential areas, resulting in wide-spread evacuations and the loss of many homes. If you live in wildfire-prone areas, there are things you can do to prepare in the event a wildfire occurs in your area. This includes creating and maintaining defensible space around your home and preparing for an evacuation. We have compiled a few resources in this article to help you prepare. Taking simple steps now can make a big difference in helping keep your family and property safe.
National Interagency Fire Center
For the most recent wildfire activity throughout the United States, visit https://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm. This website has the latest information on the number of wildland fires that have occurred and the number of acres that have burned year to date. You will also find information on large wildfires that are currently burning.
Protect Your Home and Property
In wildfire situations, most homes are not destroyed by the initial fire front of the wildfire but by the embers from that fire. You can lessen the risk of embers causing a fire around your home by creating defensible space and regularly cleaning up vegetation and flammable materials around your property. Here are a couple of articles with tips on creating defensible space and protecting your home:
In Case of Evacuation
Evacuations are more common than you may realize, and the amount of time you have to prepare can vary from less than an hour to several days. While it isn’t realistic to plan on packing a large amount of items in your home in the event of an evacuation, there are a few essential items that you should have ready in case you have to leave at short notice. These resources can help you prepare:
In addition to the above information, FEMA has a great resource that encompasses many aspects of preparing for a wildfire, including how to prepare before a wildfire occurs and what to do if an evacuation occurs in your area. Click here to view FEMA’s “How to Prepare for a Wildfire.”
Please take time to review these resources, and remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” (Benjamin Franklin). Even simple preparations can make a difference.