Typical Prepping

Wildfire Preparedness

June 29, 2021 Keith Thomas Season 1 Episode 18
Typical Prepping
Wildfire Preparedness
Chapters
1:00
Introduction
2:36
Make a plan
3:35
Prepare your home
9:06
When a wildfire is in your area
10:27
Evacuation
12:37
Returning home after a wildfire
14:00
Wildfire safety while traveling
16:26
Conclusion
Typical Prepping
Wildfire Preparedness
Jun 29, 2021 Season 1 Episode 18
Keith Thomas

In This Episode:

In this episode, we’ll talk about how you can prepare yourself and your family should you encounter a wildfire where you live or while traveling.  

Each year an average of over 60,000 wildfires occur in the United States burning millions of acres of forest and wildlands. The two primary ignition sources are lightning strikes which make up 10% of wildfire causes and 90% are attributed to humans. A wildfire is classified as human-caused and can begin via “debris burning, campfires, arson, discarded smoking products, sparks from equipment in operation, arced power lines, and other means” according to the National Interagency Fire Center. 

On average wildfires are responsible for the destruction of nearly 70 million acres of wildlands per year in the United States and cause an average of 339,000 deaths per year worldwide.




Key Topics:

  • Introduction
  • Make a plan
  • Prepare your home
  • When a wildfire is in your area
  • Evacuation
  • Returning home after a wildfire
  • Wildfire safety while traveling
  • Conclusion

    

Resources:











Social Media;

 

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Webpage; https://www.typicalprepping.com

Subscribe to my email list; Click Here

Email me with your suggestions, comments, or questions; keith@typicalprepping.com




Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/typicalprepping)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In This Episode:

In this episode, we’ll talk about how you can prepare yourself and your family should you encounter a wildfire where you live or while traveling.  

Each year an average of over 60,000 wildfires occur in the United States burning millions of acres of forest and wildlands. The two primary ignition sources are lightning strikes which make up 10% of wildfire causes and 90% are attributed to humans. A wildfire is classified as human-caused and can begin via “debris burning, campfires, arson, discarded smoking products, sparks from equipment in operation, arced power lines, and other means” according to the National Interagency Fire Center. 

On average wildfires are responsible for the destruction of nearly 70 million acres of wildlands per year in the United States and cause an average of 339,000 deaths per year worldwide.




Key Topics:

  • Introduction
  • Make a plan
  • Prepare your home
  • When a wildfire is in your area
  • Evacuation
  • Returning home after a wildfire
  • Wildfire safety while traveling
  • Conclusion

    

Resources:











Social Media;

 

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

Webpage; https://www.typicalprepping.com

Subscribe to my email list; Click Here

Email me with your suggestions, comments, or questions; keith@typicalprepping.com




Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/typicalprepping)

Wildfire Preparedness 


Welcome to Typical Prepping. The podcast for those who would like to start their own disaster preparedness plan, or those who have gotten started, but are not quite sure where or how to take the next steps.

Each week I'll present a disaster preparedness topic with actionable tips and strategies that you can implement to start or grow your personal disaster preparations. Thanks for stopping by to listen today.


Hi, I’m Keith, and welcome to Typical Prepping!

In this episode, we’ll talk about how you can prepare yourself and your family should you encounter a wildfire where you live or while traveling.  



Introduction 


Each year an average of over 60,000 wildfires occur in the United States burning millions of acres of forest and wildlands. The two primary ignition sources are lightning strikes which make up 10% of wildfire causes and 90% are attributed to humans. A wildfire is classified as human-caused and can begin via “debris burning, campfires, arson, discarded smoking products, sparks from equipment in operation, arced power lines, and other means” according to the National Interagency Fire Center. 


On average wildfires are responsible for the destruction of nearly 70 million acres of wildlands per year in the United States and cause an average of 339,000 deaths per year worldwide.

 

Although most wildfires tend to take place in the western and southeastern states, of the United States, wildfires could happen anywhere. Today we’ll talk about how you can prepare your home and family for wildfires and we’ll also discuss the things you need to know about wildfires and wildfire safety when traveling or while on vacation.



Wildfire preparedness at home 



Make a plan


When preparing for any disaster the first thing we should have is a plan. Your plan should include shelter and evacuation plans, as well as your family emergency communication plan, copies or originals of important documents as outlined in the financial disaster plan, and an emergency kit either for the entire family or individual kits for each family member. If you haven’t made a plan, check out our past episodes on creating a family emergency communication plan, financial disaster planning, and the basic emergency supplies kit, I’ll leave links to these episodes in the show notes for you, and be sure to check out the free pdf files we have available to help create your emergency plan.

   Your plan can also include emergency supplies or directions for specific emergencies, just as we’ll outline here for wildfires. 

    


Prepare your home 


To help prepare your home and property in an area where wildfires are likely by;



  • Keep roofs and gutters clean of dead leaves debris and pine needles that can catch embers.
  • Repair or replace any loose or missing shingles or roof tiles To prevent ember penetration. 
  • Reduce embers that could pass through vents in the eaves by installing  1/8 in metal mesh screening. 
  • Clean debris from exterior attic vents and install 1/8 inch metal mesh screen to reduce embers.
  • Repair or replace any damaged window screens or broken windows.
  • Screen or box in any areas under patios and decks with 1/8 inch metal mesh screening  To prevent debris and combustibles accumulation.
  • Remove any combustible materials away from wall exteriors, such as; Mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles,  anything that will burn.
  •  Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches.


Assess both the horizontal and vertical aspects of vegetation when designing the defensible

space. To prevent the horizontal spread of wildfire, thin shrubs and trees so the crowns do not

intersect and there is space between individual shrubs and trees. To prevent the vertical spread of wildfire, keep the lowest tree branches pruned and trimmed to maintain vertical separation from the top of shrubs and grasses to the lowest tree branches. The vertical distance needed will vary significantly, depending on the species of tree and composition of the understory.


• Create three concentric zones around the building. 

Zone 1, the zone closest to the building, normally has the greatest need for fuel modification with progressively less modification in the other two zones. The higher the Fire Severity Zone, the larger the concentric zones should be. You should consult the local or state fire agency for assistance.


Creating the three zones


Zone 1

• Eliminate all combustible materials in Zone 1 (within 30 feet of the home) such as fire-prone

vegetation, firewood stacks, combustible patio furniture, umbrellas, and dimensioned lumber

decking.  Desirable substitutions include irrigated grass, rock gardens, stone

patios, metal patio furniture, and noncombustible decking.

• Before fire season begins, remove combustible litter on roofs and gutters and trim tree

branches that overhang the roof and chimney

.

Zone 2

• Ensure that Zone 2 includes only individual and well-spaced clumps of trees and shrubs

and/or a few islands of vegetation that are surrounded by areas with noncombustible

materials.

• Use hardscape features such as driveways and paved or gravel walkways or patios to create

firebreaks throughout the yard.

• Plant fire-resistant, low-volume vegetation that retains moisture well and needs minimum

maintenance such as pruning and removing dead and dying branches.

• Separate auxiliary structures such as a detached garage, pump house, and utility shed

from the home by at least 50 feet. Increase the distance if the structure is used for the storage

of combustible materials.

• Comply with recommended construction practices related to fire resistance for auxiliary

structures.

• Ensure that patio furniture is either made of

noncombustible material such as metal or is

at least 30 feet away from the building. Store

patio furniture in a location that is protected

from ignition by a wildfire.

• Place woodpiles at least 30 feet from the

building and store the wood in a vegetation-free zone such as a graveled area.

• Store fuel tanks away from a structure at the

minimum distance that is required by code

or greater and place underground or on a non-combustible

pad.

Zone 3

Reduce fuels that are farther than 100 feet from the building by thinning and pruning vegetation

horizontally and vertically. Thinning and pruning in Zone 3 can be more

limited than in Zone 2. The goals in Zone 3 are to improve the health of the wildlands and help

slow an approaching wildfire. Zone 3 is also an aesthetic transition between the more heavily

modified Zone 2 and the unmodified surroundings. In other words, this should be an area that would be thinner than the thick wildlands around your property creating an observable transition from wildlands to domesticated property. 



During the time a wildfire is in your area…


Stay aware of the latest news and updates from your local media and fire department. Get your family, home and pets prepared to evacuate.

Place your emergency supply kit and other valuables in your vehicle.

Move patio or deck furniture, cushions, doormats, and potted plants in wooden containers either indoors or as far away from the home, shed, and garage as possible.

Close and protect your home’s openings, including attic and basement doors and vents, windows, garage doors, and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home.

Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Firefighters have been known to use the hoses to put out fires on rooftops.

Leave as early as possible, before you’re told to evacuate. Do not linger once evacuation orders have been given. Promptly leaving your home and neighborhood clears roads for firefighters to get equipment in place to fight the fire, and helps ensure residents’ safety.



Evacuation 

Know at least 2 evacuation routes for everyone in the household. Get out and practice these evacuation routes with members of the household to ensure everyone knows the evacuation routes. 

  If you have pets and/or livestock that you plan to evacuate, practice evacuating them and include timing the loading of livestock to ensure their safe evacuation.

    Leave immediately if given evacuation orders. Ideally, you would evacuate before orders go out so that firefighters have time to get into place and you have more of a safety cushion.

     If your unable to evacuate and become trapped Call 911, but understand that it may be a while before responders can reach you. Turning on your lights can help them find you more quickly.

        Many people who perish in wildfires do so in vehicles. One reason is that they wait too long to evacuate, or they think their vehicle can move faster than a wildfire. However, wildfires can leapfrog and hopscotch obstacles. Another reason people die in vehicles is due to the conditions—debris on the road, poor visibility, and high evacuee traffic, for example.


However, if you find yourself driving or in a vehicle during a wildfire;

  • Turn your headlights and hazard lights on.
  • Roll up windows
  • Drive slowly.
  • Use recirculated air from the air conditioner.
  • Close or block air vents
  • Use dry material to cover your face and skin. DO NOT use wet material, wet material can create steam because of the heat that may surround you leading to steam burns. An N-95 respirator can help to prevent smoke inhalation, FEMA does suggest getting training on the use of the N-95 respirator.



Returning home after a wildfire


    Listen to officials about when it’s OK to return after a wildfire. If you attempt to go home before the all-clear, you could end up dealing with smoldering ash, live embers, hot pockets that could spur another fire, and water that is unsafe to drink.


When you do return, you’re likely at high risk for inhaling unsafe dust particles. Get the debris and land around you wet, and wear NIOSH certified-respirator dust masks such as the N95. Also, try to use social media or texting to communicate with loved ones. Phone systems may be overburdened, so reserve calls for emergencies.


Be mindful, you may be at an increased risk of flooding in the five years after a wildfire because these fires seriously change ground conditions. Mudflows and flash flooding could become more frequent, especially if the land has lost vegetation that will take a while to regrow. In fact, you may need to evacuate your home again due to floods or mudslides in the days, weeks, or months after you return home. Heed these orders, and take out a flood insurance plan to further safeguard your property. 



Wildfire safety while traveling 

    The first, obvious step is to stay informed about any fires burning in the area where you’re traveling. Ideally, you’ll avoid driving down back roads with fires burning nearby, or heading into burning backcountry, entirely.



Tips for traveling or vacationing in wildfire country:

  • Before you go, check with public land management agencies for fire restrictions or area closures. Check out current National Park Service alerts.
  • Plan ahead and prepare. Prepare a trip plan, let someone else know where you are going, sign in at the trailhead, know your route and be sure to know how to get out! 
  • Check the forecast before you go. While recreating, watch for sudden changes in the weather or changing weather conditions. For example, if you see or hear a thunderstorm approaching, consider leaving the area.
  • If you use a campfire, make sure it is fully extinguished before leaving the area - be sure it is cold to the touch. 
  • If you are using a portable stove, make sure the area is clear of grasses and other plants that could easily catch fire. Prevent stoves from tipping and starting a fire.


  • During periods of high fire danger, consider alternatives to campfires, such as a propane camp stove. It may also be a great opportunity for some fantastic stargazing.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles—pack out cigarette butts and burned materials from your camping area.
  • If you see smoke, fire, or suspicious activities, note the location as best you can and report it to authorities or call 911. Do NOT attempt to contact suspicious people or try to put out a fire by yourself.
  • If you see a wildland fire, report its location to authorities or call 911. Avoid traveling near it.
  • Do not drive your car or ATV and park in tall, dry vegetation, such as grass. The hot underside of the vehicle may start a fire.



If you know you’re vacationing in an area that is prone to wildfire during certain seasons or if there are warnings the area is ripe for fire activity, have a contingency plan. Figure out where you can go if your park, forest, or resort is unavailable due to proximity to the fire action.

  By planning ahead you can salvage your vacation and help everyone stay safe!


Well, Folks, that’s going to do it for this episode, If you would like more information on preparing for wildfires, check out the links in the show notes for more information, join me next week for another preparedness topic, and until then stay safe and be prepared!


If you enjoyed this podcast, please share it with your friends and family. leave us a review on Apple Podcasts. This really helps the show and gets our message out to others looking to start or improve their prepping skills. If you found value in this content, feel free to leave me a donation at buymeacoffee.com/typicalprepping. Your donation helps with the production cost of the show so I can continue to bring you more amazing content. Also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. If you’re unable to access these links in the show notes on your favorite podcast platform you can access them on our website at typicalprepping.com! 

 Until next time, stay safe and be prepared!



Introduction
Make a plan
Prepare your home
When a wildfire is in your area
Evacuation
Returning home after a wildfire
Wildfire safety while traveling
Conclusion