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Security | 05.03.2014 - 06:17

Wildfire Season Could be Severe this Year

Advanced planning is essential for preventing and, should the worst happen, fighting wildfires.

The potential for property destruction and emergency situations does not end with the winter season. While there has been much focus and attention on the severe winter weather, meteorologists are saying that the number and severity of wildfires this year could be substantial.

 

Bruce Thoren, National Weather Service meteorologist has the following to say on the subject:
“In above average temperatures when it’s warm, breezy and dry, the risk is elevated.”

 

Advanced planning is essential for preventing and, should the worst happen, fighting wildfires.

 

Regular meetings

Monitoring the weather forecast and planning for increased staff when danger is high is paramount. Plan monthly meetings with area fire chiefs to discuss preparation for wildfires and how they will be dealt with; fire chiefs can then make informed recommendations to county commissioners about burn bans.

 

Maintenance and repairs

The off-season is the ideal time for routine maintenance of brush trucks and other wildland gear. Firetrucks Unlimited offers comprehensive preventive maintenance plans for all your firefighting trucks. In addition to maintenance, our experts have experience on all types of truck repairs. If your department needs to purchase additional brush trucks or refurbish any of the trucks you have, click here to contact us and discuss which option is right for you.

 

Educating the public

Many of the wildfires your department deals with are a result of human behavior such as careless burning, sparks from equipment, arcs from power lines, tossed cigarettes and  of course arson. The housing recovery has many new home constructions taking place in wooded areas, near national forest, rural settings, and isolated mountain locations. Construction sites have several of the aforementioned risk factors. The negligent burning of trash and construction debris at these sites can easily lead to loss of homes and natural resources and the loss of human life. Speak to the media about the increased risk of wildfires this season and ways in which the public can help reduce the number of occurrences.

 

Homeowners can design their home and landscape with fire safety in mind. They can choose fire-resistant materials for the roof and exterior siding. They can plant trees and shrubs which resist burning rather than fuel a fire. Hardwoods are slower to burn than pines, firs, and evergreens.

 

They can also keep their roof and gutters free of debris, leaves, and dead tree limbs.

 

Have a professional inspect the chimney. They should clean the chimney at least one time each year; make sure the damper is working properly and that the spark arrester of chimneys and stovepipes meets National Fire Protection Association Standard 211.

 

Make sure dual-sensor smoke alarms are fitted in each sleeping area, kitchen, and on every level. They should test them each month and replace the batteries every year.

 

Homeowners in high-risk areas should consider protective shutters and heavy fire-resistant drapes.

 

They should keep flammable items away from the house. This includes piles of wood, wooden patio furniture, grills, and other items that may give fuel to a fire.

 

Drought conditions and high winds are beyond anyone's control. Another factor that contributes to elevated risk is the amount of rainfall during the growing season of the previous year. Extra growth becomes additional fuel for any fires that occur. The most important thing people can do is focus on the things they can control and take appropriate action.

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