Wildfire season is coming.
While some wildfires are caused by lightning, approximately 90% are caused by human error. Many times, wildfires occur when campfires are left unattended, debris is burned improperly or cigarettes are carelessly discarded.
A wildfire can grow rapidly out of control when the three following elements are present: oxygen, fuel and a heat source. The fuel can be any flammable material near the wildfire, and the heat source can be campfires, cigarettes or even warm winds. Under the combination of these three things, a violent wildfire can ensue.
By taking a few extra precautions, campers and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the sights of nature without causing a wildfire. Here are a few tips from National Geographic to help prevent wildfires:
- Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure you completely extinguish the fire when you’re done – Drench the fire with water and stir the ashes until cold
- Play it safe when using fueled lanterns, heaters and stoves – Lighting and heating devices should be cool before refueling. Keep flammable liquids and fuel away from appliances
- Never discard cigarettes, matches or smoking materials from moving vehicles – Do not toss them on the ground. Completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them
- When burning yard waste, follow local ordinances – Avoid burning in windy conditions – Keep a shovel, water and fire retardant nearby to keep fires in check
If conditions are right and you find yourself in the path of a wildfire, evacuate immediately. Listen to local emergency notifications for the most up-to-date information. Better yet, make a wildfire plan for you and your family before a fire occurs.
Visit Ready/gov's page in wildfires for more information about wildfire safety and prevention.