State Fire Marshal’s Office Recognizes Wildfire Awareness Month

The Washington State Fire Marshal’s Office joins fire agencies around the state in recognizing the importance of being prepared for wildfire season.

 In 2021, more than 1,800 wildfires were reported in Washington State, burning over 674,000 acres, according to the Northwest Coordination Center (NWCC).

 The National Interagency Fire Center and the National Weather Service forecast we will see average precipitation and temperatures for Washington State this summer. However, we must remain vigilant of the danger of wildfires.

 Residents are urged to plan and practice wildfire safety by preparing their property now to reduce the chance of embers and flames igniting material on or near their homes.

 Homeowners can take the following actions to create a defensible space and protect their homes:

  • Clear fallen leaves, pine needles, branches, and other debris from roof valleys and gutters. Remember to use extra caution when working on ladders whenever accessing your roof or gutters.
  • Remove any flammable materials on the ground around your home, deck, porch, or patio to a minimum of 5 feet. This includes mulch, dead leaves or pine needles, shrubs or other plants and material for construction projects. Wood piles should be kept at least 30 feet from your home or other structure.
  • Make sure trees are limbed at least 10 feet up to reduce the likelihood of a fire getting into the tops of trees.
  • Plants within 30 feet of your home should be well-watered and spaced to avoid fire moving from plant to plant.
  • Grass and weeds should be mowed to no more than 2 to 3 inches.
  • Keep all vegetation, including grass, hydrated.
  • Whenever possible, use fire-resistant materials for any home improvement projects.
  • Attic and garage vents should be screened with 1/8-inch metal mesh material, or a fire-resistive vent design should be used to prevent ember penetration during the windy conditions of a wildfire.
  •  Prepare your community by working with your neighbors. Remember, the ignition of one home within a neighborhood will threaten other houses, so encourage all neighbors within wildfire risk areas to work together to reduce the community risk.

 Create a Wildfire Action Plan to prepare your family for evacuation at a moment’s notice.

  • An evacuation plan should include alternate routes out of the area and prepacked essentials, including medications, family records, credit cards, a change of clothing and enough food and water for each household member for up to 72 hours.
  • Create a family communication plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to be a single source of communication among family members in case of separation.
  • Be aware of family, friends, or neighbors with disabilities who require assistance and additional lead-time to prepare for a disaster.
  • Remember to prepare a plan for pets and other animals.
  • If there is a wildfire alert system available in your area, consider signing up to receive notifications.
  • When told to evacuate, go promptly and safely. If you feel unsafe during a wildfire, do not wait for an evacuation order – leave immediately. Do not return home until directed by emergency personnel.

 For more information, contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office at (360) 596-3929.

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