One of the most uneasy feelings is the possibility of a wildfire. Due to an ongoing drought and overgrown forests in the Western United States, wildfires have burned millions of acres during the majority of the past seven years. Sparks on the highway, electrical mistakes, lightning strikes, lit cigarettes and vehicle fires have been some of the causes.
The Valley Fire in 2015 completely devastated Lake County, as well as Napa and Sonoma Counties, and motivated local communities and agencies to improve fire prevention and evacuation strategies. However, the accumulation of so much unmanaged forest land has proven to be too much to handle. 2020 was the year of the August Complex Fire, the largest fire in California history. Burning for 3 months, this fire destroyed our sense of safety, as well as over 1 million acres of land, homes and businesses.
We have opportunities every day to remain wildfire safe, keep our home in order and preserve California as much as possible. How many of these opportunities have you taken to prevent fire damage and the need for disaster cleanup?
Regularly dispose of hazardous and flammable materials, such as paint cans, oil barrels, lightbulbs, batteries, cleaning products, propane and oxygen tanks at regulated hazardous waste disposal sites. Proper disposal of these types of items will reduce the risk of a fire. Find a site near you by contacting your county’s general waste disposal company.
If you see an unattended fire, call 911 immediately and report the location. Never assume someone else has made or will make the call.
Smoke responsibly. Make sure you have a proper ashtray for disposal, and do not smoke around flammable materials or while driving.
Pay attention to local ordinances regarding burning, use of fireworks, camping and anything else involving fire or substances that may cause a fire. The less risks you take, the less likely wildfire damage may occur.
Set aside a few hours each week to safely trim, cut and dispose of your trees, weeds and dry brush. Maintaining a defensible space around your home on a regular basis, instead of waiting for overgrowth to occur, will lessen the chance of a fire occurrence as well as keep this task from becoming too overwhelming.