We all have been watching in sadness and grave concern as wildfires burn out of control in the Western U.S. Despite unprecedented firefighting efforts, more than 960 homes and 30 commercial buildings have burned this year, according to the fire center.
And even now, the Yosemite-area Rim Fire continues to rage largely unchecked, and threatens one of America's greatest national treasures.
All of us at Life+Gear offer our thoughts and prayers
to those impacted by the horrific fires.
It seems as if there is nothing we can do to prevent a wildfire from consuming a home in its path. And while that is true in many cases, there are things that have shown to be extremely effective.
There are homes that are left standing untouched, while others around them are burned to the ground. According to FEMA and the U.S. Fire Administration, here are things that can be done to protect your home in areas prone to wildfire:
1. Replace wood siding, shingles and other construction materials with fire resistant materials
2. Clear brush, bushes and trees from your property, as they are fuel for the fire, as are pine needles and debris in gutters, roofs and on the ground around your home
3. Ensure your street signs and house numbers are clearly posted to ensure emergency crews can locate and safely travel to your home
4. Keep firewood and propane and other fuel tanks far away from your home
5. Have a plan to escape the area to protect yourself and your family
No matter where we live, in wildfire country or in urban areas, we all can and should have plans in place to prevent house fires and prepare to survive.
For more information on how to protect your home from wildfires, visit these sites:
Nearly 2,500 people die in home fires each year. Eighty-two percent of all fire deaths and 76 percent of all fire injuries in our country occur in the home – the very place we should feel most safe. Are you doing everything you can to be Prepared for Life?
Our next Life+Gear blog will highlight things we should do protect our homes and loved ones against the ravages of home fires.
Learn More about Fire Safety.