With firefighters still battling blazes including, the Gladiator fire near Crown King and the Sunflower fire near Payson, we wanted to remind you to be smart when it comes to fire. Remember, it only takes one spark to start a wildfire, and several parts of Arizona are already at risk given the dry and windy conditions plaguing the state.
So what can you do?
Well, according to the Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention and Information Website, there are a few things you should be mindful of when it comes to fires:
Pausing or parking a car or truck in tall grass or over shrubs can start fires. This not only may damage your vehicle but may also start a quickly moving fire. Do not park where vegetation is touching the underside of your vehicle. Also be sure that all vehicles and tires are in excellent working order; chains or other recreational trailer equipment must not drag or dangle from the truck; secure all recreational equipment when traveling, these can ge hot or create sparks causing not just one but multipe wildfires. Look behind you as your driving to make sure all is well. It’s always a good idea to carry a fire extinguisher. Grass burns quickly and dry, windy conditions can turn into a wall of flames in minutes.
A burning cigarette is a small fire ready to become a larger one. Cigarettes are made to burn long and slowly and can start fires even hours after being dropped or thrown away. Never walk off and leave a burning cigarette and be aware of all smoking restrictions when recreating on public lands.
Fireworks are not permitted on public lands throughout the entire state. Sparks from fireworks can cause wildfires in dry vegetation. Many cities and towns in Arizona have regulations that restrict the use of fireworks. Some towns and cities are including fireworks displays as part of their holiday celebrations. Please check your local newspaper for times and locations.
CHAINSAWS AND EQUIPMENT
Sparks from chainsaws, welding torches, and other equipment can cause wildfires. Use spark arresters, refrain from welding and use of spark-creating machines when fire danger is high. Follow fire restrictions and closures–in some areas chainsaws are not allowed.
HOMES AND BUILDINGS
To a wildfire your house or cabin in the country, if built of flammable materials, is only fuel. Wildfires do not discriminate between trees and cabins–if it is flammable it will burn. You can take steps to protect your home from a wildfire’s flames by taking some simple steps to create “defensible space,” and area around your building that discourages fire from coming too near. Slope, vegetation types, planting design, location of outbuildings all affect a wildfire’s ability to reach your home. Defensible space can be created in many ways. For example you can:
- plant fire resistant plants
- space plants to slow the spread of fire from plant to plant
- place woodpiles and wooden picnic tables well away from buildings
- keep roofs free of needles and leaves
- screen openings under decks and attic and foundation vents
KIDS CAN HELP
- by never playing with matches, lighters, flammable liquids, or any fire
- by telling their friends about fire prevention and sharing their knowledge about what to do in a fire emergency
- by staying calm during an emergency and listening to the instructions given to them by their parents
- by remembering their assigned meeting place and by coming promptly upon hearing the signal
- by keeping their toys, bikes and belongings out of the driveway so firefighters and their equipment can come through during a fire emergency