If it's predictable, it's preventable: Wildfire Prevention Week
This Wildfire Prevention Week (April 15-21), the Department of Natural Resources encourages people to look past the late-season snow and start getting ready for wildfire season.
"In a couple of weeks, this snow will melt and we'll dry out fast — that's when wildfire season will kick in," said Casey McCoy, fire prevention supervisor. "The question shouldn't be 'if' wildfires will occur, but rather 'when' and 'where.' It's good to use this time to look at what we can do now to prevent and prepare for wildfires."
Simple things homeowners can do now to prepare:
• Make a wildfire evacuation plan. Make a plan to get out of the house and decide where to meet.
• Assemble a grab-and-go bag. This should include essential documents, prescriptions, a first aid kit, and enough food, water, cash and clothing to last 72 hours.
As soon as the snow melts, clean dry leaves out of gutters, rake debris from under decks and move firewood at least 10 feet away from the house. All of these items can serve as kindling for a fire, so removing them helps to protect your property.
Preparation is only half of the equation, though. The DNR needs everyone's help to prevent wildfires, too. Some of the best ways to prevent wildfire are these:
• Postpone outdoor burning and other activities that may cause a wildfire when fire danger is elevated (windy, dry days, especially after long periods without precipitation).
• Thoroughly extinguish campfires. If it's too hot to touch, it's too hot to leave.
• Never park on dry grass. Hot exhaust pipes can ignite a fire.
• Secure trailer hitch chains. Chains that drag on the road can spark a fire.