While Smokey the Bear may have taught you how to prevent wildfires from occurring, he might not have covered what to do once the wildfire is already ablaze and out of control. To ensure that you know how to keep wildfires from happening and how to protect yourself once they start, here are some signs of trouble to look out for and safety tips to make sure you outlive the flames!
Don’t Be The Cause Of Catastrophe
While natural events like lightning strikes can cause wildfires, most often they are the result of careless human behavior. Whether it’s due to a campfire that's left unattended or a cigarette that wasn’t properly extinguished, humans are prone to errors that can have disastrous consequences. To ensure that you are not the cause of a wildfire, be smart and practice logical fire safety. Obey all active fire bans and stay informed on the wildfire danger levels so that you can plan your outdoor burns accordingly. Avoid starting a fire in high winds, and always make sure you have extinguished your campfires completely before leaving them.
Be Aware Of Fire-Prone Locations
Some areas are more susceptible to wildfires than others, so keep informed on where you’re traveling and stay updated on their fire danger levels. Drought conditions in the West make this region more vulnerable to wildfires, and this is especially a concern in the summer months. States most prone to wildfires include California, Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, and Oregon. Practice increased caution when traveling to these areas, but be aware that wildfire risk exists everywhere.
Safety Tips For Wildfires
To ensure that you stay safe and that your belongings sustain as little damage as possible in the event of a wildfire, implement some of these safety tips!
- Clear leaves and debris from your gutters, awnings, and patios to prevent embers from igniting your home
- Remove dead, dry vegetation from around your home, with 10 feet of clearance being ideal
- Get rid of firewood stacks and propane tanks that are within 30 feet of your home. If it is flammable, get it away from your structures
- Cover your roof vents with wire mesh to prevent sparks from entering your home
- Move patio furniture and outdoor decorations inside if possible, or far away from your home
- Fill garbage cans, tubs, and other containers with water to potentially ward off and discourage imminent flames
- Make sure that your smoke alarms are working properly
- Put together an emergency kit for your RV which includes first aid supplies, food, and protective clothing
- Develop an evacuation plan anytime you camp in an area where wildfires are prevalent, and always be ready to put that plan into action
- In the event of a wildfire, tune into broadcast stations for updates and stay connected to these emergency channels
- Plan to evacuate on short notice! If there is time, wet down the area around your home before leaving.
- Practice unhooking your rig in the dark so you can make a quick getaway if you need to evacuate at night
- If you see a wildfire and haven’t yet received evaluation orders, don’t assume someone else has already reported it. Call 911 immediately!
- If caught in a fire, protect your lungs by breathing the air closest to the ground, preferably through a moist cloth if able
Do you have a wildfire story or some helpful insights and tips of your own that you’d like to share? Leave us a comment!