7 simple steps to prevent wildfires
A study found that humans are responsible for igniting 84 percent of wildfires. Here’s what you can do to prevent one from starting.
The total devastation from recent wildfires in California and Australia have brought much attention to a severe problem. Did you know that humans start 1.3 million fires , and the biggest culprit is trash burning? While meteorologists can forecast the conditions favorable to sparking wildfires, such as dry and windy conditions, there are still steps to take to prevent future wildfires...
Photo by Michael Owen Baker
Forest fire statistics
The wildfires of Australia have been burning for months, and there is no end in sight. To date, more than 17 million acres of land have been burnt, and the flames took with it the lives of at least 28 people. More than 3,000 homes have been destroyed, and the fires are still raging. Shockingly, there are more than 75,000 wildfires that occur in the United States each year, which burn more than 7 million acres of our precious land. No state is exempt from the risk of these fires as there are forests and wooded areas everywhere. The shocking fact is that careless humans start nine out of every ten forest fires. There have been 24 people charged in the Australian fires for setting deliberate brush fires that have contributed to this massive inferno. Fires not only kill animals, and destroy homes, businesses, and the land, they also create poor air quality. The thick clouds of smoke make breathing outside unbearable for many, especially those with compromised immune systems. Many are looking for solutions to prevent these wildfires from happening. However, wildfire prevention techniques seem to be the best method.
Wildfire prevention methods are essential to ensure wildlands, and those who live in and around them are safe. Here are ways that you can be proactive:
Photo by Oleg Magni
1. Report unattended fires
If you are ever out and about and notice a fire that is burning out of control or is unattended, immediately call 911 or your local fire department . When the conditions are right, even a small campfire can turn into a massive fire. .”See something? Say something,” is one of the key wildfire prevention methods
2. Extinguish fire pits and campfires when done
Many people wonder how to prevent wildfires, but the easiest way is to be careful when having a campfire or using a fire pit. A fire should never be left unattended for any period. Also, when you are done with the fire, then make sure you completely extinguish it. Use water or ashes to put out the flames. Keep tents and sleeping gear away from any fire pit or campfire to ensure you don’t add fuel to the fire . Loose kindling and branches around the campsite can feed the flames. To prevent wildfires, you should tidy up the area to make sure there is nothing that could catch fire from an errant spark.
Photo by Philippe Goulet
3. Don’t throw lit cigarettes out of your moving car
Never throw lit cigarettes, smoking materials, or matches out of your car, or on the ground. Cigarettes and matches both have enough heat to create a spark. Make sure any cigarettes are completely extinguished before you throw them in the trash. Many wildfires can start by carelessly flicking a cigarette butt on the ground, especially during dangerously dry conditions.
4. Use caution when using flammable liquids
When using propane to refill stoves, lanterns, or heaters, make sure you use extreme caution. Wait to fill these devices once they have completely cooled. Any flammable liquids can quickly ignite a lantern. Additionally, these should be filled outside rather than inside.
5. Pay attention to local ordinances for trash burning
If you burn your trash, then you need to make sure that you follow your local ordinances. Most areas will have restrictions when it’s windy, or there are dangerous conditions that can spark a wildfire. Make sure to have a fire extinguisher with you when you burn anything so that you can put out the flames if necessary. If you have any flammable materials in your yard, remove them before you burn any trash or rubbish.
Photo by Zuza Gałczyńska
6. Only use fireworks in clear areas with no woods nearby
Wildfire prevention techniques can be difficult when most people don't realize the harm involved. For instance, during the 4th of July holiday season, people love sparklers and other fireworks. However, these things should never be used unless there is a wide-open space with no flammable materials nearby. Also, check with your local ordinances as many restrict fireworks altogether.
7. Pay attention to the risk of forest fires in your area
Always check the local forecast to learn about fire safety alerts. The U.S. Forest Service mascot is Smokey The Bear, and there is a risk posted wherever his statue is located near wooded areas. Regions in California and other places around the county post the risk for forest fires daily. The public must be made aware so that they can prevent doing any activities that could end up causing a wildfire..
Photo by Michael Owen Baker
How to prepare for a wildfire
If the area you live in is experiencing out of control fires, then there are a few things you can do to prepare for wildfire. Here are some tips to ensure you and your family’s safety.
Follow evacuation orders
Keep leaves and other debris raked in your yard.
Make sure flammable chemicals are in proper containers and stored safely.
Never outrun a blaze – seek cover in lakes, rivers, or streams until it passes. Wet blankets can work if no water is nearby.
Use masks to protect your lungs.
Always listen to your local weather and news reports to make sure you know about the air quality, evacuation orders, and the status of the fire.
Photo by Rick Rycroft
By following prevention tips, you can help ensure that fires are not started or extinguished before they become out of control. Additionally, you should have an evacuation plan if you live in a high-risk area. Always keep your eye to the sky, and your ear tuned to your local weather forecast for help. The damage to the environment from the wildfires in California and Australia is irreparable. These massive wildfires forever changed lives and landscapes across California and Australia. While the weather elements may come together to make a recipe for disaster, these tips on how to prevent future wildfires can make a big difference. Remember what Smokey the Bear says. “Only YOU can prevent forest fires”