(ABC4) – Wildfire season in Utah is off to a blazing start. As of May 30, Utah has had over 260 wildfires. According to Utah Fire info, more than 240 of them were human-caused.
According to the Utah Wildfire, there are currently 8,962 acres burning across the entire Beehive state.
|Utah Counties||Ongoing Fires|
As firefighters tackle the on-going flames, local authorities are advising citizens to be prepared and educate themselves on fire safety.
Just last week, heavy flames took over near Gunnison, and crews rushed to the scene.
“Friendly reminder to take care of you campfires when you are done with them. You may think it’s not gonna go anywhere but when our lovely winds come, things will change. Never leave a hot pit unattended,” shares the Gunnison Valley FIRE Department on May 21.
Being prepared and knowing how to handle a wildfire is not only essential for your survival but it is also vital for the surrounding environment to remain healthy.
Here’s some tips on how make sure you and your home is wildfire ready:
It’s important to create a barrier between your home and anything that might burn, says Ready.gov. Keep materials such as firewood, dried leaves, newspapers and any vegetation that can burn in a fire 30 feet away from your house. In addition, anything flammable, such as a propane tank and gas grill, should be kept at least 15 feet away from any structure, Ready.gov says.
It’s also a good idea to work together with your neighbor neighbors to create a safety zone that reaches about 200 feet around your homes. Ready.gov says this may include thinning plants, removing underbrush and trimming trees so their canopies don’t touch.
Consider Additional Wildfire Defense
If and when adding to your landscaping, consider fire-resistant vegetation, Ready.gov says.
While no plants are fireproof, low-growing plants with high moisture content and low sap or resin are typically more fire resistant. Those may include aloe plants, honeysuckle bushes and shrub apples, among others, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).
If you’re remodeling your home or installing a new roof, opt for fire-resistant materials.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says vinyl siding may pose another hazard in a wildfire. FEMA suggests opting for non-combustible siding made from materials like stucco, brick or concrete, instead of vinyl. Regardless of the material that cover’s your home’s exterior, it’s important to make sure there are no spaces through which embers from a fire might be able to enter, FEMA says.
It’s also important to keep your roof and gutters free from debris that could catch fire, says FEMA.
Provide Easy Access for Firefighters
Ultimately, you can prepare as much as possible to mitigate your risk of wildfire damage. But you may still need to rely on firefighters. You can take some steps to make it easier for them to help you out.
- Look at your property from the road to make sure your address is visible.
- If you have gates around your property, check to ensure they swing inward and that the opening is large enough for emergency crews to enter with their equipment.
- Keep a ladder handy that is long enough to reach your roof. It may help firefighters gain quick access.
Source: CAL Fire
A wildfire can cause devastation to your property. By taking some precautions in the event of a wildfire, you may help defend your home against one.
A few tips, in case you need to evacuate from your home: What to take from your home during an evacuation