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Best Practices for Wildfires

  • • Evaluate and record short-term and long-term wildfire risk for communities and individual structures in various subareas within the given area of study using a variety of scenarios related to population growth, global warming, seasonal variations, type and quantity of fuel available, previous history of wildfires and extent of damage, degree of high-growth urban sprawl, and the amount of fireproof or fire-resistant material utilized in building structures. (See endnote 30.)
  • • Develop and implement a Wild Fire Prevention and Mitigation Management Program coordinating the activities and resources of federal, state, and local authorities to minimize the impact of wildfires and the potential loss of life, injury, and destruction of property by: conducting the previously mentioned studies and drawing usable conclusions for immediate and long-term actions; developing and utilizing appropriate zoning codes and building codes for new developments and existing housing; communicating to individuals and communities the cause and nature of wildfires and how to prevent them and protect properties and lives; reducing and removing hazardous fuel loads which can be used to start the fire or enhance it; rapid suppression of the fire depending on the size, nature, and location using the most modern available technology; encouraging the use of fire-resistant or fireproofed material in structures; enhancing the firefighting capabilities and communication systems of fire departments and other resources used to keep the fires from spreading; developing appropriate legal tools to deal with recalcitrant individuals for the good of the community; rehabilitating the site of the wildfire where feasible and if of value to the community using federal and/or state funding, etc. (See endnotes 31, 32, 33, 34.)
  • • Use fuel management techniques, usually controlled burning and mulching and chipping of materials prior to burning, to reposition the potential fuel for wildfires closer to the surface of the ground.
  • • Use herbicides where there is potential live fuel in a given area.
  • • Communities should not allow houses to be built in high-risk wildfire areas.
  • • Communities should supervise the removal of excess fuel and the thinning out of trees and bushes to reduce the potential for serious wildfire problems.
  • • Develop and present to the public uniform clear messages in all media and teaching formats concerning: closures of areas and restrictions; campfires; smoking; storage, use, and disposal of fireworks; trash burning and debris burning; restrictions on vehicles being parked on dry grass or other dry material; and the severe penalties involved, including being indicted for murder, if someone dies from a fire set purposely and considered to be arson.
  • • Develop an appropriate fire evacuation plan for the community and encourage families to develop their own evacuation plan.
  • • Homeowners should take responsibility for making their land and home fire resistant and defensible by designing into the structure effective fire control materials and measures.
  • • Use materials and plants to landscape around the home that will not readily support fires.
  • • Use fire-resistant or non-combustible materials on the roof and in all portions of the structure.
  • • Within a 150-foot radius of the house, prune all trees and bushes, remove all dead branches and fallen trees, and remove all debris from the site.
  • • Do not stack wood for fireplaces next to the house.
  • • Clean and inspect all chimneys, the roof, and gutters on a regular basis.
  • • Install smoke and carbon monoxide sensors on all levels of the house near bedrooms and test monthly.
  • • Clear all potentially flammable material from the house.
  • • Never utilize open burning techniques for trash or debris in areas vulnerable to wildfires.
 
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