Western states get ready for wildfire season
If you live in the western United States, consider this your early warning to get ready for an active wildfire season.
Wildfire season has already gotten off to an early start in parts of central Washington, western Idaho, and the southern areas of Utah and Colorado, according to a forecast released June 3 by the National Predictive Services Unit. The forecast also calls for above-average high temperatures, which will quickly dry out vegetation fueled by spring rains. In fact in parts of California and New Mexico, fire conditions now resemble those normally seen in late fall, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Wildfire conditions are expected to be above normal through mid-July for Arizona, California, northern Nevada, western New Mexico, Oregon, central Washington, western Idaho, and the southern areas of Utah and Colorado.
What Every Property Owner Should Do Now
- Look around your property and at the physical structure of your home or business.
- Consider what might catch fire if flames approached or embers from a fire burning a mile or even more from your property were carried there by the wind. Some things are obvious; woodpiles or paint cans stored next to siding, dried out plants or piles of vegetative debris from fallen leaves, and gutters overflowing with leaves or pine needles.
- Realize that other risks may not be as apparent, but could still pose a real threat.
- Download the Wildfire Checklist to help you identify what else could put your property at risk.
- Take steps to minimize these risks.
Anything that could drive fire to your home or business should be addressed now, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Wildfires can seem uncontrollable, but there are many ways for a property owner to take control of this risk.
“We know from post-disaster wildfire field investigations that there are some very effective things you can do to reduce the risk of losing your home or business in a wildfire,” says Dr. Stephen Quarles, the Institute’s wildfire expert. “We have developed some tools to help make the process easier. Now is the time to make a plan and take action.”
One of the most effective ways to prepare is to concentrate on anything that is combustible in the area within 5 ft. around your home or business. That includes anything in or on the ground, underneath a deck or on the roof or attached to the siding. If it’s combustible, it could ignite and cause the structure to burn.
Put IBHS Wildfire Resources to Work for You
Wildfire Home Assessment & Checklist
Seven Steps to Wildfire Preparedness
How to Create a Fire-Adapted Home
What is Defensible Space & Home to Create It
Reducing Wildfire Risks: Homes, Businesses & Farms
Take Control of Your Wildfire Risk. Download the IBHS Regional Wildfire Retrofit Guide for Your Area
Find out more at fireadapted.org and disastersafety.org/wildfire.
© 2012 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety