High Risk calls for increased fire safety and prevention
So far this year, Hood River has been extremely fortunate to avoid wildfires, but risk continues to loom. And it only takes a shift in wind direction to bring choking smoke to the area from other regional fires.
Several fire districts and multiple jurisdictions collaborate to protect our area, but this also means fire restrictions can be confusing and complex. The main thing to understand is that Hood River is surrounded by wildlands that pose dangerous fire risk, especially when conditions have been dry and hot like they have.
Local experiences over the past few years confirm that so many activities in the great outdoors can ignite fires. For this reason, local agencies and the state restrict campfires, smoking or any type of open flame or activity that could cause a spark in dry, natural areas.
Around 90% of wildfires are caused by humans and can be prevented. The local fire season generally lasts from July 1 though October 15, but began on June 9th this year, the earliest start in 40 years. For all these reasons, it’s vital to take safety precautions in case the unthinkable happens. “By working together, we can make our property, neighborhood, and city safer from wildfire,” said Hood River Fire Chief Leonard Damian.
Prevention at home, work and play, and knowing fire restrictions is important.
Seven safety precautions can help protect your home and stop the spread of wildfire:
- Keep flammable objects (lawn mowers, oil/gas cans, propane tanks, wood piles) at least 30 feet away from the home at all times. Move any flammables (lawn furniture, toys) during wildfire activity.
- Keep roofs, gutters, decks and patios clear of leaves, pine needles or other flammables.
- Remove flammable mulch and vegetation within 5 feet of the home and replace with nonflammable material.
- Remove tree or shrub branches that overhang within 10 feet of your house, roof or chimney.
- Keep lawns watered and mowed, or if water-conserving, make sure debris is removed within 30 feet of home.
- Trim tree limbs 10 feet above the ground.
- Install 1/8-inch metal mesh screens over vents and under decks to prevent ember intrusion.
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