4 Wildfire Safety Tips

With a warmer and drier-than-average summer here in Alaska, we have to be aware not only of how to prevent wildfires, but what to do when one starts near you or your home.

Prepare Your Family: As wildfire-caused evacuations are a very real possibility for many Alaskans, it is best to have the entire family educated and prepared about what to do in case a wildfire sparks up near you. Spend time each year to review fire safety and wildfire prevention methods with your kids. Talk to your family about your specific evacuation plan, emergency meeting locations, multiple escape routes and plans for pet evacuation as well.

Emergency Supply Kit: A well-stocked emergency supply kit in your home and vehicles can make a life-saving difference in the event of a wildfire. Each year assure that your family emergency supply kit is fully stocked with everything you may need. Some ideas for important items to include in these kits are:

  • Three-day food and water supply for everyone in the family, including pets.
  • First Aid Kit
  • A map with multiple marked escape routes
  • Battery-powered radio and flashlight
  • Prescription medications
  • A change of clothes
  • Copy of important documents
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Extra cash, credit cards and car keys

Learn Before You Burn: If you plan to burn your back yard debris, be sure to check local conditions and regulations on the matter and prepare your burn space appropriately. Never burn when it is windy or vegetation is really dry. Make sure no power line or tree branches are above your burn space and that there is plenty of wet gravel surrounding your burn space. Keep your burn pile small and contained, adding new material as the pile burns down. Stay until the fire is completely out and maybe douse it in water for added precaution.

Campfire Safety: While camping is a popular form of recreation in Alaska, campfires are often the cause of massively damaging wildfires simply because the basic safety precautions were not taken seriously. When building, maintaining and extinguishing a campfire, it is best to practice some precautions to avoid causing a much bigger fire. First, it is good to make sure campfires are allowed in the area. Next, if the campground doesn’t offer a fire ring, clear a large space of its debris at least 15 feet away from your tent and dig a hole about a foot deep; surround the hole in rocks, and your fire pit is ready. Be sure to keep the fire small and maintainable.  When extinguishing the fire, pour water on it until the soot is cool, not just until the flames are gone. Embers will burn for hours or even days waiting for the right amount of wind to hit them and start a new fire. If no water is available cover the fire in dirt and sand until the ground is cool. Never leave embers burning thinking they will go out on their own.

For up-to-date information about wildfires across the country, check out the Red Cross Active Wildfire Map. For more information on wildfire preparedness visit the Ready for Wildfire Website.

by Chugach Chiropractic & Massage Center