Wildfires preventions is on each of us
Wildfires are a dangerous situation for people, animals, the natural environment, and public/private property as well.
Even when considered a part of natural cycles in many environments, due to global warming and negligence from many people, each year there are more wildfires, being more extensive and destructive, jeopardizing sustainability in many ways.
It's estimated that 9 out of 10 wildfires are due to human activities, which means that at least 90% of wildfires would not occur without human intervention, so it's particularly important to be aware of our responsibility for thousands of lost resources due to wildfires and even more important, what we can do to prevent them.
It might seem a surprise but most of what we can do to prevent wildfires is just common sense, but if we are not aware of our role in wildfires prevention, avoiding certain safety behaviors will end in a wildfire sooner or later, so let's see what we can do to prevent wildfires.
1. Check the weather forecast and plan your outdoor activities accordingly
There are more chances of accidentally beginning a wildfire under dark, hot and windy conditions, thus if you are planning to set a campfire or perform any activity involving flammable materials or sparks, the best choice is to re-schedule them if weather conditions are prone to the development of wildfires.
It might seem nothing, but just a spark in a bunch of dry grass during proper weather conditions will be enough to initiate a fire disaster!
2. Set your campfires properly
Almost everyone loves the light and warmth provided by a campfire during outdoor activities. It's a sort of romantic remembrance of what our ancestors did but also a risky activity if it's not conducted properly.
That's why it's so important to know how to set a campfire and keep it safe, there's a lot of information on the internet as well in camping manuals, but let's remember the basics:
- Set your campfire in an open area, far from branches and avoiding low vegetation. If there are trees in the area, they must be high ones.
- Clear the area around your campfire place. Be sure there are no leaves, branches, dry grass, or any other flammable material at least in an area 5 times larger than the firecamp.
- Remove potentially flammable materials from the campfire place. It must burn over mineral soil (grave, stones, etc.), never over organic material
- Keep all that you need for your campfire in the cleared area
- Never leave a campfire unattended
3. Learn how to extinguish a campfire properly
Many campers think a campfire is extinguished just because there are no more flames or smoke but the truth is the temperature is still high enough to start a wildfire when you have gone if some debris or dry grass reaches the hot area.
To avoid such risk it's important to properly extinguish your campfire before leaving, to do so you have to:
- Throw at least one bucket of water over your campfire
- Stir the debris with a cold branch or any other instrument
- Throw another bucket of water and stir again
The campfire will be properly extinguished once you may touch everything with your hands.
4. Avoid taking your vehicle off the road toward dry grass areas
Dry grass is extremely flammable and it's just enough your car's exhaust pipe temperature to light a fire. In the beginning, it might be just a tiny ember but it won't take too long before it turns into a wildfire under the proper conditions.
5. Keeps sparks away from dry vegetation
If you need to perform any activity involving sparks due to the use of certain instruments or tools, be sure there's a clear area free of flammable vegetation around the workplace.
The area size may vary depending on what type of sparks you are generating and the weather conditions as well. Usually, a 10 to 30 feet clearance area is enough but it's possible considering even a larger space if the conditions are particularly favorable for wildfire development.
As you may see it's not difficult to start a wildfire without even noticing it, so following the aforementioned tips you will be contributing to avoiding such a dangerous event.
Being aware of what we can do and teaching others the importance of their behavior on wildfires prevention is the key to diminish the yearly number of these events.