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What We Can Learn From Western U.S. Wildfires

Posted on September 4, 2015

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A thin haze sits over the Western United States as a result of blazing wildfires affecting seven states—California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. These summer fires have destroyed over 7.6 million acres causing thousands of people to evacuate their homes. No matter where you live, it’s a good idea to evaluate your fire safety plan and how at risk you are of this type of disaster. With this in mind, here is what we can learn from the Western U.S. summer wildfires.

Nature Plays a Role

Take the state of California for example. For four years it has been in a drought-stricken state. This dryness caused for more things to catch fire and made flames spread more quickly. Fires in California, Oregon and Washington stared from lightning storms striking the dry ground. High winds and lack of rain caused the fires to blaze uncontrollably. 

Be Aware of Potential Fire Hazards

Washington’s State Department of Natural Resources manages 13 million acres of forests and grasslands and reported that as of August 11 there have been 751 fires on DNR-protected lands and humans caused 628 of them. Nature isn’t the only thing causing fires. When participating in what may be ‘normal activities’ like operating farm equipment or target shooting be mindful that these activities can cause sparks which lead to bigger fires.

Prepare Now

You never know where, when or how big a fire disaster may be in your area. Create an emergency fire plan and educate your family members on how to handle an evacuation situation and who your emergency contacts will be. Know your resources that will give you reliable information on the status of fires like the USDA Forest Service active fire map.

These fires have resulted in devastating amounts of loss for many people. Fires are a serious disaster so it’s important to evaluate your homes and neighborhood area to understand the risk of fire where you live.

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