‘You never really get used to it’; How to prepare your home for wildfire season

SPOKANE, Wash. — For Beacon Hill resident Chris Krzywda, preparing his home for wildfire season is a conscious effort. With dry brush and vegetation in close proximity to his home, he explains he has to be proactive annually.

“I’ve lived here for a lot of years so I’m kind of used to it, but you never really get used to it,” Krzywda said. “You have to be proactive out there. You’ve got to create space between your house and you know that possible fire that could be there. You don’t want any fuels laying on the ground.”

With more homes being built in zones where nature and residential areas combine, or a wildland urban interface (WUI) zone, Dr. Lauren Stachowiak, a wildfire expert and Geosciences professor at Eastern Washington University recommends more residents become “fire wise.”

“You are not separate from the fire,” Stachowiak said. “You are in the same location. It is a part of your life, and understanding what that means for your entire life.”

By taking some steps, she explains damages from a wildfire, like the Andrus and Malden fires, can be avoided in the long-term.

“It’s not just trees,” Stachowiak explained.  “It’s the shed you have in your yard — so things that can potentially become fuel, you want to minimize that in the areas around your home.”

Clearing dry brush, removing wood, creating space from dry areas, and even simply wetting your yard can prevent a wildfire from spreading and damaging your home in the long run.

“You know, we look at these landscapes. We can’t avoid the fact that fire is a part of our future, and so knowledge is power on that.”

More information can be found on the National Fire Protection Association website.

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