Preventing Forest Fires

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With Monsoons barely wetting the earth and temperatures continuing to rise, we’ve officially reached one of the most dangerous times of the year in Arizona: Wildfire Season.

While not all wildfires can be helped, many starting from natural causes such as lightening, MOST are ignited by humans not being fire wise in this arid climate. Check out the article below from local Grant Cool of Prescott Tree Service on how you can do your part in protecting our homes and loved ones from wildfires this year and on the daily.

 

Preventing Forest Fires

It is no secret that wildfires are an inevitable cycle of life in natural ecosystems that are populated my flammable shrubs and trees. While preventing all forest fires is nearly impossible, there are multiple ways to prevent the ignition and spread of harmful conflagrations in our local area. This constitutes a question that requires us to take action: How can we prevent forest fires?

Our hometown of Prescott is strewn with an extensive collection of trees and wildlife that we all love and enjoy daily. While the seasons bring their offerings of snow, rain, sunshine, and wind, it is important to keep our local forests sustainability in mind. Throughout a typical year, Prescott sees many dry days with intermittent rain and snow fall. During summer, the air begins to dry and the average temperature begins to rise. During the peak of summer, we enjoy warm weather with sporadic monsoon showers to top off the season. However, this enjoyable season poses an unfortunate side effect to our forests when the hot temperatures and gusty winds begin to dry out our soil and natural wildlife.

When trees and shrubs begin to lose their moisture, their cracked bark and arid appendages become a volatile base for harmful forest fires. Paired with unpredictable wind patterns and sizzling heat, the risk to natural wildlife and humans alike increases starkly. This leaves only one remaining factor in the fire triangle for a deadly blaze to be alight. The fire triangle is composed of three key components: oxygen, heat, and fuel; a fire must have all three to create an ignition.

In dry seasons, oxygen and heat are supplied by trees and bushes. This leaves only one factor in connecting the cycle which is the fuel. While there are many natural causes that could act as fuel (lightning being an example), the majority of wildfires are caused by human error. In essence, this is good news for forest sustainability because it offers an answer to a question that has already been asked. How do we prevent forest fires? The answer is simple, and it starts with us.

Most forest fires are started by accidents that could be prevented with education and proper orientation towards fire safety. Resulting from the past fires that Arizona has fought, the lessons learned have taught us that these outbreaks can be mitigated or completely avoided by simply educating the public on safe fire practices. Live cigarettes, sparks from an open campfire, negligent use of pyrotechnics, and many more factors are often the cause of devastating fires, luckily, we have the tools and capability to prevent these occurrences. We have compiled a list of tips and tricks for keeping our families and forests safe.

Trust Your Gut, If You See It, Report It:

  • Follow the ordinance of your area, refrain from backyard burning (especially in wind conditions).
  • Do not dispose matches, cigarettes, or other smoking items from a moving vehicle or while on any trails. Ensure it is fully extinguished before disposing of it.
  • Take special precaution when using lanterns, heaters, and stoves powered by gas. Avoid spilling these while using or refueling.
  • Campfires should never be left unattended. Make sure a campfire is fully put out by pouring cold water onto the fire until the ashes are cold.
  • Always call 911 if you suspect an unattended or uncontrolled fire.

Prepare Your Home:

  • Store any firewood or flammable home items like grills, yard garbage, canisters of fuel, etc.
  • Maintain proper landscaping to prevent overgrown weeds from becoming fuel.
  • Have a predetermined evacuation plan for worst case scenarios. Establish a gathering point outside your home where your family knows to meet like your driveway or sidewalk. Then establish an evacuation route starting from your home and ending in a designated safe location.

Basic Fire Wise Planning:

Creating a defensible perimeter around your home by clearing brush and trees is a technique that can save your home in the event of a wildfire. Contact a Prescott arborist to protect your home from a worst case scenario.

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