posted May 6, 2016, 2:49 PM by MPFPD Community Crisis Management
It may be raining today (May 6) but we know wildfire season is approaching. Saturday, May 7, 2016 is national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. FEMA recently released these reminders about to those of us who live in wildfire country.
Preparing for Wildfires
A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted fire burning in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland, or
prairie. There’s a misconception that wildfires only happen in western and the Great Plains
states. While wildfires are more common in certain states, they can occur anywhere in the
In addition, homes and business are more susceptible to wildfires as building development
expands into once forested areas. This is called the wildland urban interface, and this interaction
can put individuals at risk for exposure to wildfire.
- Learn terms relevant to wildfire communication that are used by the National Weather
- Fire Weather Watch: Potentially dangerous fire weather conditions are possible
over the next 12 to 72 hours;
- Fire Weather/Red Flag Warning: Fire danger exists and weather patterns that
support wildfires are either occurring or expected to occur within 24 hours. (Your
community may also use the National Fire Danger Rating System to provide a
daily estimate of the fire danger [i.e., low, moderate, high, very high, and
- Evacuation Notice: Local authorities may issue an evacuation notice to alert
residents that a fire is nearby and it is important to leave the area. When
authorities issue a mandatory evacuation notice, leave the area as soon as
- Set up three defensible zones around your home by clearing and reducing vegetation such
as grass, bushes, trees, and other shrubbery. If renovating or building new homes, be sure
to use fire-resistant construction materials.
- Zone 1: A minimum 30-foot space. Make sure the space is clear of things like
dead leaves, debris and other materials that can easily catch fire. Keep your lawn
properly mowed and watered, and make sure plants growing in this area are fire
resistant. Prune branches and shrubs to create 15 feet of space from the structure,
from the ground, and between trees;
- Zone 2: 30-100 feet out. Make sure plants growing in this area are fire resistant,
create “fuel breaks” such as driveways and gravel walkways; prune trees limbs 6
to 10 feet from the ground; and
- Zone 3: 100-200 feet out. Remove underbrush and thin vegetation, ensure that
firewood is placed at least 100 feet away from structure, and keep tall trees from
creating touching canopies.
- Make sure there is a clear path to nearby water sources such as hydrants, ponds,
swimming pools, and wells. Your fire department may to use it in an emergency.
- Use a NIOSH-certified respirator (e.g., N-95) to help protect against smoke inhalation.
Clothing made of natural materials such as wool can help protect in an emergency.
- It is important to remember that over three quarters of wildfires are caused by humans.
Learn how you and your family can prevent a wildfire by using fire and equipment
responsibly from Smokey Bear.