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wildfire The threat of wildland fires for people living near wildland areas or using recreational facilities in wilderness areas is real and occur over 100 times every year.

Advance planning and knowing how to protect buildings and your family in these areas can lessen the devastation of a wildland fire.

A wildfire is an unplanned, unwanted wildland fire including unauthorized human-caused fires. Vegetation fires are caused by slash and burn land clearing, clearing of plantations following logging operations, and by natural events such as lightning or extreme drought. During dry seasons fires usually reach a peak and can present a trans-boundary problem when prevailing winds disperse the smoke across borders to other countries.

Characteristics/Measurements: There are three different classes of wildland fires.

 A surface fire is the most common type and burns along the floor of a forest, moving slowly and killing or damaging trees, especially young trees.

A ground fire are usually started by lightning. They burn on or below the forest floor in the humus layer down to the mineral soil.

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Wildfires

When a wildfire occurs, the demand on fire department service is extreme. Protecting life is their first priority. Protecting property and resources secondary. With both wildland vegetation and a large number of structures threatened, the fire department resources become overwhelmed. Often, they may have to decide between attacking the fire or choosing which structure can be saved.

You can help improve the fire-fighting effort by making your property a place to effectively battle a blaze, and make it more likely your structure can be saved.

-Learn safe camp or open pit fire practices. Avoid open burning completely during dry season. 

-Build fires away from nearby trees or bushes. Always have a way to extinguish the fire quickly and completely. Never leave a fire--even a cigarette--burning unattended.

-Perform weed abatement on a regular schedule for structures built near wooded areas.

-Use fire-resistant materials when building, renovating, or retrofitting structures.

-Create a safety zone to separate the home from combustible plants and vegetation. Stone walls can act as heat shields and deflect flames. Swimming pools and patios can be a safety zone.

-Check for fire hazards around home.

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What To Do If A Wildfire Strikes, (Wildfire Action Plan)

-Wear protective clothing such as sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants and long-sleeved shirt, gloves and handkerchief to protect your face.

-Back your car in the garage, heading out with windows closed and the keys in the ignition.

-Close the garage door but leave it unlocked; disconnect the automatic garage door opener in case of power failure.

- Place valuable documents and family mementos inside the car in the garage for a quick departure, if necessary.

-Make plans for your pets in case you must evacuate, most shelters do not accept pets.

-Keep a flashlight and portable radio with you at all times.

-Move combustible yard furniture away from the house and store it in the garage.

-Connect the garden hose to outside water spigots.

-Assemble in advance a disaster supply kit with items you may need if advised to evacuate.

-Listen to your local news for reports and evacuation information.

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When you return to your home after a wildland fire, you should:

Obtain permission from officials before entering a burned wildland area.

Use caution and exercise good judgment when re-entering a burned wildland area. Hazards may still exist, including hot spots, which can flare up without warning.

-Check the roof immediately and extinguish any sparks or embers.

-Check the attic for hidden burning sparks. For several hours afterward, re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the home.

Avoid damaged or fallen power poles or lines, and downed wires. Immediately report electrical damage to authorities. Electric wires may shock people or cause further fires. If you come across dangerous wires, if possible, remain on the scene to warn others of the hazard until a repair crew arrives.

Watch for ash pits and mark them for safety. Ash pits are holes full of hot ashes created by burned trees and stumps. You can be seriously burned by falling into an ash pit or landing on one with your hands or feet. Warn your family and neighbors to keep clear of the pits.

Watch animals closely.

-Keep all your animals under your direct control. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn your pets’ paws or hooves.

-Pets may become disoriented, particularly because fire often affects scent markers that normally allow them to find their homes.

-Your pets may be able to escape from your home or through a broken fence. -In addition, the behavior of pets may change dramatically after a fire, becoming aggressive or defensive, so be aware of their well-being and take measures to protect them from hazards, including displaced wild animals, and to ensure the safety of other people and animals.