DNR is asking all everyone in Washington state to participate in Wildfire Awareness Month.
Washington’s theme for 2017 is Be Ember Aware, because the most common reason that homes burn in wildfires is not from flames but because falling embers ignited something on or near the home. Residents can take simple steps to increase their home’s chances of survival without fire department intervention by:
- Cleaning out gutters, roofs and other areas where leaves, pine needles and other debris has settled
- Keeping the space around your home clear of dense vegetation, and a creating a 5-foot wide barrier strip of rock, stone or gravel about your home’s perimeter
- Covering vents with 1/8-inch wire mesh or installing ember-resistant vents
Embers can travel over a mile
In 2015, Washington state experienced its largest wildfire season ever, when more than one million acres burned across the state. The first major incident of that fire season was the Sleepy Hollow Fire in Wenatchee, which started on June 28. Not only did the fire destroy 29 homes, but its embers spread the fire to buildings more than a mile away.
With the Sleepy Hollow Fire in mind, prepare around your home with steps from the Firewise Communities Program at www.firewise.org. Studies show that as many as 80 percent of homes lost to wildland fire may have been saved if brush around the homes had been cleared and defensible space created around structures.
During May, we are providing additional tips and steps that residents can take. For more information, follow DNR on social media: Twitter @waDNR_fire or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Washington-State-Department-of-Natural-Resources-273352136518/.