Fire Protection Tips - Preventing Wildfire Damage
Public awareness and increased vigilance are important parts of wildfire prevention. Fire extinguishers, which are very inexpensive and easily kept at hand, play a critical role in forest management by keeping forests from burning to the point of no return. Prevention education is especially important in high-risk fire prone areas.
Managing wildfire requires comprehensive understanding of why fires occur and managing multiple competing priorities in a budget-constrained society requires comprehensive wildfire prevention planning and action. The key to preventing fires is understanding the cause of fires and how to recognize and prevent them. Fire is a very serious and destructive element that no society should overlook. Effective public education and effective fire safety management are essential to preventing and controlling damaging fires.
Two types of preventable wildfire are arson and debris burning. Arson occurs when someone sets off an oil-fueled fire for whatever reason. It is one of the leading causes of property damage and fatalities. The main characteristics of arson are targeting an open structure or individual and leaving the building or individual "smokey." This type of "smokey bear" is usually uncontrollable and dangerous.
Fire, which also occurs naturally, begins as a slow-burning, contained burning tree fire or grass fire. It may spread to forests and spread into inflagration if not contained or protected early. Controlling or preventing such fires requires both prevention and early intervention as well as effective wildfire prevention practices and strategies.
In cases where "human-caused fires" are occurring, steps must be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of future wildfire. Prevention is more effective than trying to stop a wildfire in its tracks as it advances. Effective strategies involve comprehensive land management that takes into consideration multiple threats and uses multiple means to achieve one goal. Strategies that help reduce the threat of inflagration include making structures and activities off-site safe, controlling or eliminating access to fuels, providing early warning about extreme weather conditions, making sure that appropriate materials are on hand and properly disposed of, and taking all reasonable precautions. Prevention also includes avoiding opening doors and windows when it is not hot and ensuring that children and pets are away from the fire area.
It is important for wildfire prevention to consider how "dirt" is deposited in fire prone areas. Dirt is commonly used by some firefighters as fuel. In some regions, grass and pine needles are also used to create fires. If a home is located in an area where grass and pine needles are used, especially around a campfire, it is very likely that any spark created by the fire will ignite dry leaves, debris and other flammables present in the nearby pile. Firefighters should remove any flammable objects from the immediate vicinity of the fire to avoid causing additional damage and risk to people and pets.
Another aspect of prevention is knowing what to look for in case a wildfire does break out. It is imperative to know what to look for in a fire damage inspection report so that you can identify specific hazards and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. In the case of a structural fire, it is critical to document any damage that could result from falling debris, so you have a record of everything that could potentially be a problem in the future.
Finally, a well-maintained forest provides the best protection from forest fires because of the natural firefolks that inhabit the area. However, a well-maintained forest also exposes the homeowner to added threats of infrastructures that facilitate wildfire occurrence. For example, trees that grow close to homes or are mature and full of sap are often used as fuel. In the event that a tree starts to drop sap and catch fire, it is imperative that the homeowner inspect the trees immediately to try to contain the spread of the flames.