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Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes, recreational vehicles, target shooting (including exploding rifle targets), and intentional acts of arson.
The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning or lava.
As our population continues to grow, more and more people are building homes in places that were once pristine wilderness areas. Homeowners who build in remote and wooded areas must take responsibility for the way their buildings are constructed and the way they landscape around them.
Use Fire Resistant Building Materials – The roof and exterior structure of your home and other buildings should be constructed of non-combustible or fire-resistant materials. If wood siding, cedar shakes or any other highly combustible materials are used, they should be treated with fire retardant chemicals.
Landscape wisely – Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees to minimize the spread of fire and space your landscaping so fire is not carried to your home or other surrounding vegetation. Remove vines from the walls of your home.
Create a “safety zone” or defensible space around the house
Protect your home
Campfire Safety - Campfires are a common cause of brush fires or wildfires so please be careful when you’re out in deserts, mountains, or any other heavy vegetation areas.
NEVER leave a campfire burning – make sure it is completely out using plenty of water before leaving the area. Stir the coals around with a stick or log while pouring water over them to ensure all the coals get wet and they are no longer hot. Any hot coals left unattended can be easily ignited by wind since they can stay hot for 24 – 48 hours.
When building a campfire, always choose a level site, clear away any branches and twigs several feet from the fire, and never build a fire beneath tree branches or on surface roots. Also, build at least 10 feet (3 m) from any large rocks that could be blackened by smoke or cracked from a fire’s heat.
BEFORE A WILDFIRE (FIRE SAFETY TIPS):
Prepare – See Mitigation tips above.
Learn fire laws – Ask fire authorities or the forestry office for information on fire laws (like techniques, safest times to burn in your area, etc.)
Could they find & reach you? – Make sure that fire vehicles can get to your property and that your address is clearly marked.
Safety zone – Create a 30-100 foot (9-30 m) safety zone around your home.
Teach kids – Explain to children that matches and lighters are TOOLS, not toys… and if they see someone playing with fire they should tell an adult right away. And teach kids how to report a fire and when to call 9-1-1.
Tell authorities – Report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire.
Be ready to evacuate – Listen to local authorities and leave if you are told to evacuate.
DURING A WILDFIRE:
Listen – Have a radio to keep up on news, weather and evacuation routes.
Evacuate? – If you are told to leave – do so … and IF you have time also…
Head downhill – Fire climbs uphill 16 times faster than on level terrain (since heat rises) so always head down when evacuating the area.
Food & water – If you prepared ahead, you’ll have your Disaster Supplies Kit handy to GRAB & GO… if not, gather up enough food and water for each family member for at least 3 days or longer!
Be understanding – Please realize the firefighters main objective is getting wildfires under control and they may not be able to save every home. Try to understand and respect the firefighters’ and local officials’ decisions.
AFTER A WILDFIRE:
Don’t go there – Never enter fire-damaged areas until authorities say it’s okay and watch for signs of smoke or heat in case the fire isn’t totally out.
Critters – Don’t try to care for a wounded critter — call Animal Control.
Utilities – Have an electrician check your household wiring before you turn the power back on and DO NOT try to reconnect any utilities yourself!
Damage – Look for structural damage (roof, walls, floors) — may be weak.
Call for help – Local disaster relief services (Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) can help provide shelter, food, or personal items that were destroyed.
Insurance – Call your insurance agent or representative and…
If you rent – Contact your landlord since it is the owner’s responsibility to prevent further loss or damage to the site.
Move your stuff – Secure belongings or move them to another location.
Above extracted from It’s A Disaster! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? by Bill & Janet Liebsch
Wildfires have charred over 2 million acres across the U.S. per NIFC.gov and it's only March. Stay safe out there and share these mitigation tips with others...
Animals injured and displaced by So CA's Woolsey Fire find refuge at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. Thank you to all the first responders and volunteers helping both 2- and 4-legged survivors.