Each year in the United States there are more than 100,000 wildfires that burn, on average, between four and five million acres of wildlands. Wildfires can be started by natural forces, like lightning, but are more frequently caused by humans. Approximately four out of every five wildfires are started by people. Fortunately, there are things you can do
Comply with all fire restrictions
Before you burn, check with local authorities about any fire restrictions that may be in effect. If there are fire restrictions, do not violate the law by lighting a fire of your own. If you see that the conditions are ideal for fires to begin, consider postponing having a fire or use a safer alternative.
Don’t leave a fire unsupervised
Fires can quickly get out of control, especially when the conditions for a wildfire are present. It’s important that you don’t leave a fire unattended for any length of time. Someone should always be near the fire, making sure that it’s properly contained.
Be able to put out a fire
If you start a fire, it’s important that you take responsibility for extinguishing the fire as well. Be sure that you have planned how to put out a fire. To properly put out a wood burning fire pit, allow the wood to completely burn down. Then use a bucket of water to wet the ashes. Following that, use a shovel to stir the ashes. Make sure it’s evenly soaked. Before you leave, be sure that the fire pit and the surrounding area is no longer ignited.
If you smoke, be responsible
Cigarettes are among the most common ways that people accidentally start wildfires. The good news is that the number of fires started by cigarettes is in decline. Even so, if you’re a smoker, smoke responsibly. Extinguish your cigarettes properly. Don’t ever throw them out the window of a car.
Observe the weathe
Forest fires are considerably more likely to start if the weather has left an area hot and dry. Wind is also a factor. Hot, dry conditions and high winds are ideal conditions for a forest fire to start.
Quickly call for help
If a fire starts to get out of control, immediately call 9-1-1 or the appropriate authority and ask for help. You may be able to extinguish the fire yourself, but it’s likely you will need professional help. The sooner help can get to you, the better the chances of the fire not becoming a larger issue.