Wildfire preparedness is advisable in hot dry weather in particular, although wildfires can occur at any time. The U.S. has a history of wildfires with as many as 100,000 annually, although smaller ones may not make headlines. Every year wildfires burn 4–5 million acres of land in the U.S. alone.
When three elements such as flammable material like dry grass or trees, heat and oxygen come together, wildfires can occur. The sun, campfires, cigarettes, hot winds or even lightning can be the heat source — in fact, a small spark is all that is needed to start a wildfire. If other fuel sources are around, like gas or dried vegetation, the conflagration can spread quickly.
Wildfire preparedness is an important component of successfully dealing with these destructive and life threatening fires. Firefighters fight the fires with water and fire retardants as well as using controlled burns to reduce the spread of wildfires.
As many wildfires occur due to human error, it makes sense to adopt preventive measures, such as:
Make and keep a disaster kit handy in case a wildfire threatens and you need to evacuate. To be prepared for an immediate evacuation, you should have a grab-and-go bag or disaster kit packed with:
As part of wild fire preparedness, make sure your house is safe, especially if your house is near a wooded area or on a slope.
If you have received wildfire warnings, you should go to a safe area quickly. Shut off all utilities except water before leaving the house, and close doors and windows, but dont lock them, removing drapes if possible and keeping all flammable furniture and other items in the center of the room. Wear protective clothing and leave with your disaster kit.
If you are passing through smoke filled environments, make sure that your eyes and nose are protected, as many injuries occur due to smoke inhalation. If intense heat or flames are present, cover as much of your face as possible with a wet cloth. If you do get burns, cool them as quickly as you can and seek medical attention.
Raging fires sweeping the countryside can be terrifying experiences. Wild fire preparedness gives you a plan of action to lessen the devastation and give you some control over your safety in a dangerous situation.