Don’t Brush Aside Those Wildfire Risks

August 26, 2011

During hot, dry summer days, the risk of wildfires that threaten communities and individual homes reaches its peak. If you live in a vulnerable area, you can significantly cut the risk of becoming a victim by clearing all flammable brush and other vegetation within 50 to 100 feet around your home and by cutting off tree limbs that overhang your roof.

Because sparks, glowing embers and smoke can be wind-borne, you need to ensure your neighbors are savvy about the risks too. Maybe you share common areas that you can clear together. In fact, it’s a good idea for whole communities to organize a fire defense plan that includes other nearby property and an effective way of communicating and acting together if the worst happens – because you won’t have time to think of it then.

If you’re unfortunate enough to be trapped by fire, call 911 and stay outdoors, ideally on a road or bare land. If you can’t get outside, close doors and windows and stay away from outside walls. If you’re in a car, close windows and get on the floor. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers advice at 1-800-621-FEMA or

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