Wildfires are common this time of year and they destroy hundreds of buildings and force the evacuation of thousands each year. People who live in areas at risk of wildfires should pay close attention to weather conditions and use the following safety tips:
• Maintain a fire safety zone or “ring of safety” at least 30 feet around your home. Keep the grass mowed. Maintain shrubs and other landscaping. Trim tree branches so they’re at least six feet above the ground. Avoid the use of wood bark and rubber mulch that can catch fire.
• Keep firewood, propane tanks, boats, RVs and other combustibles at least 30 feet from the home – outside of this safety zone. Avoid having playground equipment, arbors or trellises in this area as well.
• Clean debris from gutters and downspouts and from the roof if possible.
• Use flame-resistant materials on decks, patios and porches and enclose or screen the area to keep it free from debris.
• Cover attic and crawlspace vents with 1/8-inch metal screens to help keep out burning embers.
• Have working smoke detectors or alarms on every floor of your home or business.
• Have an evacuation plan in case you need to leave. Always listen to the warnings of public officials in your community and if ordered to evacuate, do so immediately.