After setting new rainfall records for June in multiple cities in the Puget Sound region, the traditional warm summer coupled with longer days and dry weather is returning to our area.
As the weather continues to warm and the land dries out, brush fire risk will increase. In 2021, Washington state recorded the hottest and driest year on record.
With North Bend’s proximity to the Cascade Mountains and surrounding nature comes an increased risk for wildland fires. But by working together, residents can make their property and their neighborhoods much safer from wildfires.
You can make a difference starting today. There are simple, low-cost changes you can make around your home and your landscape to increase wildfire safety.
Wildfire Risk Reduction Tips:
- ONLY start a campfire or bonfire in an appropriate fire pit, cleared of all vegetation and ringed by stones; CHECK local burn bans to ensure campfires are allowed; NEVER leave it unattended; DON’T use a fire pit on a windy day; ALWAYS make sure your recreational fire is completely doused with water and smothered with dirt when done.
- DON’T park a hot car or other machines on dry grass.
- SPARK arrestors are required for tractors, off-road vehicles and equipment used in wooded areas, such as chainsaws.
- DISPOSE of cigarette/cigar butts and used matches in a closed container or cup of water; NEVER throw butts out car windows; KEEP lighters and matches out of reach of children.
- FOLLOW all fireworks laws and safety protocols, including keeping a bucket of water nearby and NEVER let kids use them unsupervised.
- REMOVE leaves, pine needles, and other flammable material from the roof, gutters, and on and under the deck to help prevent embers from igniting your home.
- SCREEN areas below decks and porches with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent material from accumulating underneath.
- COVER exterior attic and soffit vents with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent sparks from entering your home.
- ENCLOSE eaves to help prevent ember entry.
- INSPECT shingles or roof tiles. COVER ends of tiles with bird stops or cement to help prevent ember penetration during a wildfire. REPLACE missing shingles or tiles.
- REMOVE dead vegetation and other flammable materials, especially within the first 5 feet of the home.
- KEEP your lawn maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to help reduce fire intensity.
- PRUNE tree limbs, so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet above the ground to help reduce the chance of fire getting into the crowns of the trees.
- MOVE construction material, trash, and woodpiles at least 30 feet away from the home and other outbuildings.
- DISPOSE of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings that you have cut to reduce fuel for a fire.
More information can be found at www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA.
[Information provided by the City of North Bend]