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Wildfire Safety and Prevention

Wildfire Safety and Prevention

Posted by Grange Co-op on 5th Jul 2022

Most of us have seen images of wildfires and the devastation they leave behind on the news. The thought of a fire heading toward your home without warning is terrifying. You need to protect yourself, your family, your home, and your pets and livestock. The only way to successfully protect your property is to learn about wildfire safety before it becomes a reality.

Wildfire Preparedness Checklist

Wildfires often occur in areas with natural vegetation as the predominant ground cover. They are uncontrolled and unpredictable — you never know when a wildfire will start or if it will travel in your direction. Having a wildfire preparedness checklist will help ensure you have what you need before the fire happens.

Depending on how close the fire gets, you might need to protect yourself from smoke or prepare to evacuate. Taking steps to clear your property, putting together livestock evacuation kits, and keeping the proper PPE equipment handy are some essential steps in emergency preparedness. Precautions of forest fire hazards begin well in advance of wildfire season, and they include everything you need for all the people and animals at your home.

Create a Defensible Wildfire Area

Creating a defensible wildfire area means preparing a place on your property that serves as a buffer between the forest fire and your property. The main idea is to reduce the availability of fuel for the fire so that it doesn’t cross over the perimeter of your home. Doing so can slow down the wildfire, shorten the length of the flames, and reduce the amount of heat produced.

Follow the guidelines to create the appropriately sized zones and remove vegetation that could fuel a fire. Also, remove branches that hang over your roof and trim trees regularly so that the branches of different trees aren’t close. Creating a defensible wildfire area also extends to keeping your gutters and roof clean and free of debris.

Creating and maintaining a defensible space not only helps prevent your home from burning but also gives you a safe space to defend your home.

In Case of Evacuation

Local officials will alert you if the threat from fire or smoke becomes dangerous. However, if you wait until you are ordered to leave, you might be unable to evacuate safely. The roads might become congested, or you could get caught in the fire or smoke. So, it's best to know what to do if evacuation becomes impossible.

Have an evacuation plan in place. This is another step in wildfire preparedness that will help you move quickly and efficiently. Create evacuation kits for your pets or livestock, too. Put everything together in a container that is marked for the animal it is used for.

Things can happen quickly during a wildfire, calling for fast action on your part and the local firefighters. They will help do whatever possible to save your livestock, such as cutting through fences or opening gates. But when they are unavailable, it’s up to you to know the best path to take your animals and have the tools to get through any obstacles.

The best approach is to leave your animals in a preselected, cleared area. Planning ahead will ensure your animals have a clean path and that there is adequate feed and water to last for as long as they are there.

Human Evacuation Kit

In addition to standard items recommended in your wildfire preparedness checklist, you should also make sure you include particulate respirator masks for anyone who needs protection from smoke. Learn how to fit and wear the mask to ensure it keeps you from inhaling smoke. A mask can only protect you if it is the correct type and fits your face securely.

Poultry Evacuation Kit

Provide enough feed and water to last for 7 to 10 days. Consider packing stress packs to help keep chickens calm. Include enough feeders and waterers for the number of birds you have, along with super-absorbent bedding material to line the temporary coops or cages, as well as cleaning supplies and gloves. Finally, have leg bands on hand with your telephone number printed on them in case they get lost.

Equine and Livestock Evacuation Kit

For large animals, you need even more supplies in your evacuation kit. Include the same 7-to-10-day water and feed supply along with any supplements you normally give your animals. Make sure to have bandanas or blindfolds to cover horses’ eyes to prevent them from spooking.

Take along a first-aid kit for large animals and any grooming equipment you might need. Pack medications and a list of which animal receives what medication and the dosage. Make sure you have non-nylon halters and leads for each horse. Consider any special needs that any of your animals might have and include them in the evacuation kit.

Some essential paperwork to include is registration papers and veterinary records to prove ownership. Maps of potential evacuation routes will also come in handy in areas where GPS isn’t working or there are road closures.

Pet Evacuation Kit

Any pet that you have in your home should have its own carrier. This applies to dogs, cats, birds, and any other type of small animal. Dogs and cats should have properly fitted collars with their ID and license tags attached. Have a plan in place with a neighbor or someone else nearby in case you aren’t home when a wildfire occurs. Make sure there is someone else who can pick up your pet for you. 

You should also consider what to do with your pet in case of an evacuation, as some shelters don't allow pets. 

Take Wildfire Safety Seriously

Photo by Deep Rajwar at Pexels

Wildfire preparedness for you and your animals will help you get the best outcome if there’s a forest fire near your home.

If you have questions about some of the essential products to include in your evacuation kits, let us know. Reach out to us online using our contact form or visit us at a Grange Co-op near you. Start preparing now so you know what to do if a wildfire gets close to you.