According to the National Interagency Fire Center, humans cause an average of 68% of wildfires each year in the United States. Of those human-started fires, 2.8 million acres burn each year. In 2018, 13,700 square miles burned due to human-started and lightning strikes. You can read the stats here: https://www.nifc.gov/fire-information/statistics/human-caused.
We can all take steps to both prevent wildfires and minimize their effects, from using fire–resistant building materials to following safety protocols for handling fire when camping, heating your home, or storing fuel.
During May, Bighorn Basin Firesmart will have blog and Facebook posts about these topics and more!
In the meantime, while we’re all thinking about yard cleanup, here’s a short checklist of five things you can do easily and quickly that will make a big difference:
- Check your address placard or sign for clear visibility;
- Check/replace the batteries in your emergency alert radio;
- Inspect your power line for branches within four feet in all directions;
- Check window screens for a tight fit, and patch any holes (also good for keeping insects out of the house!);
- Move your conveniently-placed winter woodpile to more than 30 feet from all structures.