Smokey the Bear said it best! However, you have no control when a wildfire is out of control heading to your property. What you do have control of is creating a defensible space. This was brought to light over the past two summers here. We are thankful to have neighbors that look out for each other. As you can see the fire came really close to some houses. There were a couple of guys on tractors (one being my husband.) Other neighbors were using water hoses and shovels. The only structure damage was to a horse barn. Again, thanks goes to someone who had the presence of mind to let those horses out (their owners were not home at the time.)
What has conjured up my memories of this is this year it seems our fire weather has started earlier. Almost every day we have been under either a fire weather watch or warning! Usually, we don’t experience this until the summer gets going hot and the prairies start to dry out. Now that it is warmer out, it is time to do some annual maintenance that can aid in reducing the threat of a wildfire burning my house down. Most items are simple and can be done in a weekend.
- Keep grass mowed
- Trim the weeds
- Rake leaves and pine needles
- Replace landscape material, like mulch or bark, with more fire resistant material like rock.
- Use fire resistant plant materials. These are plants that have a high moisture content and low content of sap or resin. Ground cover plants are recommended for planting close to buildings. Also, choose plants that are slow-growers and need little or no maintenance. Make sure there is no vegetation in direct contact with your structures.
Another helpful hint is to keep a hose hooked to a water source. It makes it handy for neighbors or fire fighters to use to save your house. Make sure all flammables are kept at least 30 feet away so stray embers don’t ignite.
When a wildfire is barreling your way, you have no time to run around trying to find all the things you want to save in case your house burns down. You need to have a plan put into place before a fire strikes.
Keep all your family photo albums and keep sakes in one place (storage container.) Also, you can purchase an external hard drive and scan or save all your photos to that. It is easier to grab and you will have all your photos in one small place.
Any important papers need to be kept together. (Deeds, birth certificates, social security cards, insurance information, etc.)
Keep your pet supplies handy. (Food, containers, cages.)
Have a family meeting place. Designate a friend or family member, not living near you, for people in your household to contact in case you get separated in this chaos.
Hope to have a safe and fire-free summer (except for maybe the grill!)