Dozens of fires sparked by high temperatures, severe drought conditions and strong winds have blanketed the western part of the US, including Washington, Montana, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and California, making this fire season one of the worst in history for this area. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), nearly 43,000 fires burning 6.4 million acres have been reported across the West since January, and officials predict more wildfires will erupt due to continued dry heat and increased thunderstorms across the region.
In the face of this threat, what can businesses do reduce the risk to properties? The NFPA has provided some guidance:
- Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This helps prevent embers from igniting the property.
- Create a ‘fire-free’ area within five feet of the property, using non-flammable landscaping materials such as rocks, pavers and/or high-moisture content annuals and perennials.
- Remove dead vegetation from around the property, especially within 10 feet of the premises.
- Remove flammable materials from within 30 feet of the property’s foundation and outbuildings.
- If you have trees on your property, prune so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
- Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
- When landscaping, choose slow-growing, carefully placed shrubs and trees so the area can be more easily maintained.
- Landscape with native and less-flammable plants. Your state forestry agency or county extension office can provide plant information.
- Keep lawns hydrated and maintained. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
•Date: 17th August 2012 • US •Type: Article • Topic: BC facilities & buildings