It’s that time of the year again. The leaves are changing colors, the weather is getting colder, and the wildfires are starting to rage. Every October through November, wildfires burn at least 6 million acres in Canada and 3 million acres in the United States. These fires aren’t limited to forests or rural areas despite their name. The majority of wildfires in the United States burn-in in suburban and urban areas.
In addition to being a significant threat to human life, property, and ecosystems, wildfires are also a significant source of air pollution. Smoke from wildfires contains harmful chemicals that can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, and even death.
So what can you do to protect your home from wildfires? This blog post will guide you through the steps.
What Is a Wildfire?
A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of natural vegetation. Wildfires can burn for weeks or months and spread to other areas. They can also cause fatalities, damaged homes, and property, and pollute the air. Wildfires are often started by people but can also be started by lightning or accidents. There are many ways to protect yourself from wildfires, including creating a fire break, having an evacuation plan, and staying informed.
You can do several things to help protect your home from wildfire. One of the most important is to create a fire break around your home. It is an area with no vegetation, and it should be at least 100 feet wide. You can also install a sprinkler system or fire suppression system. It is also essential to have an evacuation plan and stay informed about the latest information on wildfires. You can sign up for alerts from your local fire department or visit the National Interagency Fire Center website.
Wildfires can be very dangerous, and it is essential to take precautions to protect yourself and your family.
What Causes Wildfires?
Following are the causes of wildfires:
- Lightning: One of the most common causes of wildfires is lightning. When a bolt of lightning strikes, it can ignite a fire that quickly spreads out of control.
- Arson: Unfortunately, many wildfires are started deliberately by people. Whether it’s done for revenge, insurance fraud, or simply because someone wanted to see a fire, arson is a significant cause of wildfires.
- Accidents: Several wildfires are started accidentally by people who are not paying attention. For example, someone might start a campfire and not extinguish it properly, or a smoker might discard a cigarette butt into dry grass.
- Natural Causes: Some wildfires are started by natural causes, such as lava flows or volcanic eruptions.
What Are the Dangers of Wildfires?
Following are the dangers of wildfires:
- Wildfires can cause fatalities– In Canada, an average of 154 people die in wildfires each year. In the United States, 36 people die in wildfires each year.
- Wildfires can damage homes- A wildfire can quickly damage or even destroy a home. Wildfires have destroyed over 3,000 homes in the past ten years in California.
- Wildfires can damage property- In addition to homes, wildfires can damage other property, such as vehicles, RVs, and boats.
- Wildfires can pollute the air- Smoke from a wildfire can cause respiratory problems, heart disease, and even death. It is important to stay indoors and avoid breathing in smoke if there is a wildfire.
How Do Wildfires Spread?
Wildfires can spread in several ways, including:
- Running with the wind: When a wildfire burns intensely, it can quickly spread by running with the wind.
- Spontaneous combustion: A wildfire can also start from sparks or embers that fly from the fire and ignite other vegetation.
- Ground fires: A ground fire is a fire that starts in the ground, often after a lightning strike. These fires can be difficult to extinguish and can spread quickly.
How Can you Protect your Home from Wildfires?
There are several steps you can take to protect your home from wildfires:
Create a fire break: One of the best ways to protect your home from a wildfire is to create a fire break. It is a strip of land around your home free of flammable materials. To create a fire break, you will need to clear all dead leaves, grass, and debris from around your home. You should also remove any trees or shrubs close to your home.
Install a fire sprinkler system: Another way to protect your home from a wildfire is to install a fire sprinkler system. It will help keep your home wet and prevent the fire from spreading. To install a fire sprinkler system, you will need to have a water source close to your home.
Create a fire escape plan: It is also essential to have a fire escape plan in case of a wildfire. Make sure everyone in your family knows what to do if there is a fire. Practice your fire escape plan regularly so that everyone will know what to do in an emergency.
If you are caught in a wildfire: If you are caught in a wildfire, do not try to outrun the fire. Instead, find a safe place to wait for the fire to pass. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks with you to stay hydrated and nourished. If you see a fire truck or other emergency vehicle, stay on the road and flag them down. Do not try to drive through the flames.
Create defensible space around your home- One of the best ways to protect your home from a wildfire is to create a defensible space. It means clearing all flammable materials, such as dead leaves and grass, from around your home. You should also remove any trees or shrubs close to your home.
Plan for emergency responder class- If you live in an area at risk for wildfires, it is essential to plan for emergency responders. It means having a list of contact information for your local fire department, police department, and ambulance service. You should also have a list of supplies you will need in an evacuation.
Collaborate with neighbors- It is also important to collaborate with your neighbors in case of a wildfire. Make sure you have a plan for how you will evacuate your neighborhood if there is a fire. In addition, make sure you have a meeting place where everyone can gather after the evacuation.
Ensure you are insured- If you live in an area at risk for wildfires, it is essential to make sure you are insured. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover damage from a wildfire.
Stay informed– It is essential to stay informed about the latest information on wildfires. You can find this information on the internet, radio, or on television.
When a wildfire threatens your home, it is vital to take action to protect your property. You can take several steps to make your home more resistant to wildfires. By creating a fire break, installing a fire sprinkler system, trimming back your vegetation, and having a fire escape plan, you can help to keep your home and your family safe.
What Should you Do if There Is a Wildfire in your Area?
If there is a wildfire in your area, it is crucial to take the following steps:
- Stay indoors- It is important to stay indoors and avoid breathing in smoke if there is a wildfire.
- Keep your windows and doors closed- To avoid smoke entering your home, keep your windows and doors closed.
- Turn off air conditioners and fans- If you have an air conditioner or fan, turn it off so that it does not circulate smoke into your home.
- Monitor the news- Keep updated on the latest news about the wildfire so that you can make informed decisions about your safety.
- If you have to leave your home, do so quickly- If it is unsafe to stay in your home, evacuate immediately. Do not take any belongings with you; leave quickly and safely.
If you are caught in a wildfire, do not outrun the fire. Find a safe place to wait for the fire to pass. Make sure you have plenty of water and snacks with you to stay hydrated and nourished. If you see a fire truck or other emergency vehicle, stay on the road and flag them down. Do not try to drive through the flames.
Wildfires can be devastating and destructive, leaving behind charred homes and businesses in their wake. While there is no one foolproof way to protect your home from a wildfire, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk. Ensure you have adequate insurance coverage in case of a fire, keep trees and shrubs trimmed around your house, create a firebreak around your home, and have a plan in case of a wildfire. Taking these precautions can help reduce the risk of your home being damaged or destroyed in a wildfire.