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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 

Fire Risk Increasing

The green of spring is rapidly turning into the brown of summer. And, unfortunately, many areas are being turned into fire-blackened lands.

Public land managers in the western states have begun issuing fire restrictions. Many homes are located in the "wildlands-urban interface" area and are at risk from fire. Many recreation activities are conducted in areas affected by fire danger. Please do your part in reducing the risk to our public lands and ensuring the safety of yourself and others. Check with your local Forest Service Ranger District or Bureau of Land Management Field Office for the latest information on fire precautions and restrictions in your area.

For the latest fire information:

National Interagency Fire Center - http://www.nifc.gov/fire_info/nfn.htm


IF A WILDFIRE DOES START NEAR YOU, HERE ARE SOME TIPS

  • Report the fire immediately using 911. Be prepared to give the exact location of the fire, approximate size, and anything that might be threatened in its path.
  • Do not try to fight a wildfire unless trained to do so.
  • Parking along roads to watch a wildfire can interfere with firefighting efforts, especially if there is aircraft trying to drop retardant in the area or an evacuation is taking place. Also, firefighters often use roads and natural barriers to burn out ahead of the fire.
  • Prepare your home now, before there's smoke in the air. There are simple steps a homeowner can take that will greatly improve the home's chances of survival during a wildfire. Creating a Survivable Space around your home will also give firefighters a safe area they need to defend your home.Another potentially risky situation for the public and firefighters is when an evacuation occurs. In these situations, emergency vehicles are trying to get in while residents are trying to get out and emotions are high. The purpose of evacuation is to protect people from life-threatening situations. To avoid the confusion that usually goes with an evacuation it is best to be prepared.
Some tips to plan ahead follow:

THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE EVACUATED:
INSIDE THE HOME:

  • Evacuate all family members, as well as pets.
  • Contact a friend or relative and relay your plans.
  • Make sure family members are aware of the prearranged meeting place.
  • Tune into a local radio station and listen for instructions.
  • Place vehicles in the garage, have them pointing out, and roll up windows.
  • Place valuable papers, medications, and mementos in the car.
  • Close the garage door, but leave it unlocked. If applicable, disconnect the electric garage door opener so that the door can be opened manually.
  • Wear only cotton or wool clothes. Proper attire includes long pants, long sleeved shirt or jacket, and boots.
  • Close all exterior vents.
  • Fill bathtubs, sinks, and other containers with water. Outside, do the same with garbage cans and buckets. Remember that the water heater and toilet tank are available sources of water.
  • Close all exterior doors and windows.
  • Close all interior doors.
  • Open the fireplace damper, but place the screen over the hearth to prevent sparks and embers from entering the house.
  • Leave a light on in each room.
  • Remove lightweight and/or non-fire resistant curtains and other combustible materials from around windows.
  • If available, close fire resistant drapes, shutters, or blinds. Attach pre-cut plywood panels to the exterior side of windows and glass doors.
  • Turn off all pilot lights,
  • Move overstuffed furniture (e.g., couches, easy chairs, etc.) to center of the room.

OUTSIDE THE HOME:

  • Keep wood-shake or shingle roofs moist by spraying water. Do not waste water. Consider placing a lawn sprinkler on the roof if water pressure is adequate. Do not turn on until burning embers begin to fall on the roof.
  • Prop a ladder against the house so firefighters have easy access to the roof.
  • Make sure that all garden hoses are connected to faucets and attach a nozzle set on “spray.”
  • Place combustible patio furniture in the house or garage.
  • Shut off propane at the tank or natural gas at the meter
  • Continually check the roof and attic for embers, smoke or fire.
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