Last year nearly 9,000 wildfires ripped through California, burning an estimated 1.2 million acres of land. Those fires also destroyed 10,800 structures, including homes, barns and commercial buildings. And, at least 46 people lost their lives in the California fires.
Of course we hope that nothing like this comes to our neighborhood, but if it does it’s best to be prepared.
Five ways to prepare for wildfire season
- Community Meetings – if you live in an area that might be susceptible to wildfires, meet with neighbors to make a communication plan in case there is a need to evacuate. Also, practice multiple ways to get out of your neighborhood in case roads are blocked.
- Fire Department – meet with your local fire department to learn the recommended protocol if a fire should happen. Also, make sure your driveway and house numbers are easily seen.
- Maintain Your Property – remove all sources of fuel from your property. Any overgrown or dry vegetation can ignite quickly if a wildfire comes toward your house. Clear out any brush around your house and get rid of grills and outdoor cooking equipment that you are not using. Also, clean gutters and decks of all dead leaves and pine needles.
- Fire Safety Equipment – make sure you have working smoke alarms and at least one fire extinguisher in your home. If you live in an area that is susceptible to wildland fires, it’s a good idea to have fire suppression and retardant tools handy as well.
- Plan Ahead – make an evacuation plan with your family in case of a fire. Decide on a meeting place, a communication plan and pet accommodations. Create an emergency bag with personal items that you will need if you leave your home in a hurry.
If a wildfire comes near your community, pay close attention to local emergency officials and instructions. Do not delay if evacuation is recommended. Your life and the life of your loved ones may depend on it.