The recent San Diego brush fires have been a harsh reality of how destructive wildfires can be. Experts are predicting that this season will bring more fires. They predict up to 74 percent more fires in California. This is due to the erratic dry winds, the drought, high temperatures and the low humidity. Cal Fire did determine that the first blaze in the most recent San Diego fires, the Bernardo fire, was accidentally sparked by powered equipment use on a construction site.
Being prepared and ready is a matter of life or death. Here are some tips on how to prepare your family if an emergency evacuation is declared in your neighborhood.
It should take no longer than 15 minutes to evacuate your home.
Talk to each family member about protocol on what to do if a wildfire occurs. Set up a meeting place (outside the fire zone) if family members get separated. There should be at least two evacuation routes.
Assemble an emergency supply kit and keep it accessible so you can grab it when you have to evacuate.
Have an evacuation plan for your pets and large animals such as horses and livestock.
Each family member should know how to use a fire extinguisher. Make sure to check the expiration dates on your fire extinguishers.
Although a wildfires, in many ways, are uncontrollable there are preventative measures you can take to protect your family and your home.
Widen your driveway to 20 feet if it is longer than 150 feet. Make sure your driveway has a solid driving surface that can accommodate a heavy fire truck.
Grass, leaves and branches can give fuel to a fire. If any of these can reach from the ground to a crown of a tree, it is called ladder fuel because it provides a ?ladder? for the fire to climb from the ground to the crown of the tree. You can eliminate this by mowing tall grass, pruning all the lower branches of the tress and trimming shrubs.
Using rock and stone landscaping materials around the house is very beneficial in preventing the fire spreading to your home.
Make sure firefighters can reach all your home’s defensible zones. Remove old cars, lumber piles, downed trees and other debris. Also, don’t forget to clean the roof, gutters and windowsills from debris such as leaves and needles.
When doing upgrades and remodeling on your home, use less flammable materials such as brick, stone and metal for roofing and siding.
Large wildfires can actually ignite sheer curtains inside the home due to the radiant heat. Use closeable shutters for large windows in your home.
Store all your flammable materials (gasoline, oily rags, etc.) in approved safety cans. Keep them in a fire-resistant metal building or your garage.
Consider building a pond near the home. This could be a useful safety net to distinguish any fire threats.
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