Working 4 You: Preparing your ‘Home Ignition Zone’ for wildfire season

Working 4 You: Preparing your ‘Home Ignition Zone’ for wildfire season

The National Interagency Fire Center said Wednesday that the west coast can expect another busy wildfire season. Saturday is Wildfire Preparedness Day but local resources are devoting the month of May to preparing the community for the summer blazes.

Part of preparedness and prevention involves assessing the land themselves, but Washington State’s Department of Natural Resources is focusing education efforts on being ’ember aware,’ said Guy Gifford, the public information officer for WA DNR’s northeast branch.

Gifford said that involves ensuring that the Home Ignition Zone is as fire safe as possible. Embers can travel up to a mile and it’s those sparks, rather than flames, that are responsible for most of the destroyed homes during wildfires, he said.

The good news- some of the steps you can take to minimize the risk to your home might already be on your spring yard work list. Clearing our the dried leaves, pinecones and dead brush or dry material leftover from winter can lessen the danger, as can swapping mulch out for a less flammable option, like rocks.

Once you’ve prepared the outside of your home, fire crews ask that you take a moment to prepare what’s inside.

Having a go-kit of necessary items can save time if a fire does threaten your home. As you prep that go-kit, or a checklist of items you’ll need to prep once fire season starts, consider the 6 Ps of Preparedness.

– People (And pets. See HEART for more information about protecting your pets during a wildfire)

– Papers (important documents)

– Photos and other memorabilia

– Plastic (credit cards and identification)

– Prescriptions

– Personal computers

Greater Spokane Emergency Management ask that you sign up for Alert Spokane. The system will send various law enforcement or emergency alerts. In the instance of evacuations, law enforcement typically notify residents but, in the instance they are unable to reach your home, GSEM will notify you using Alert Spokane. You can sign up here .

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