Learning how to protect your home from wildfires should be part of every family’s emergency preparedness plan no matter here you live.
Oregon spent 20 million dollars and Washington state spent 50 million in the year 2014 due to fighting wildfires. The Carlton Complex fire snakes in a twisting pattern nearly 40 miles long by 27 wide. 300 homes were completely burned to the ground, homeowners losing everything.
Each home owner can do their part towards reducing the risk of a wildfire consuming their home with a few easy steps. Nothing can truly stop a wildfire but a homeowner can create a fire buffer around their home, trim trees and keep wood piles at least 30 feet from home.
On a personal note (July 12th): I visited a friend that week in a town 20 miles from my home only to see forest fire fighting crews had doubled the population of the town. The town’s elementary school grounds are covered with tents for the fire crew to sleep, a once empty lot became the area where their meals are prepared (chow line) and tired young men and women (fire crew) can be seen mingling as the smell of smoke drifts in the air. These firefighters are fighting 3 different huge wildfires.
On July 20th my tiny town experienced their own close call when a wheat field and deep canyons caught on fire within 7 miles from town. The fire raged all night in gusty wind conditions which light up the sky with a bright orange glow and a huge amount of dense smoke that filled our homes. Many families spent the evening watching from their backyards and praying that the fire crews from 3 towns, BLM firefighters and hard working volunteers could stop the wildfire.
One structure burned but gratefully a house was saved because the fire was stopped within 10 feet. Roads were closed to allow firefighters free flowing access and because the smoke was so thick that driving became dangerous. My husband and I spent the night on high alert, barely sleeping just waiting for the town’s loud ear piercing siren to go off signaling an evacuation.
We are so grateful that we did not have to leave our home and to every person that worked countless hours to stop a fire that could have devastated lives.
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