In parts of the West, wildfire season got an early start this winter leaving destruction and despair in its wake.  Wildfire season can’t be confined to the summer and early fall months anymore. For the past four decades, the season has gotten longer. This year in parts of southern California and northern Utah, communities saw its earliest outbreak of wildfires in January, due to an ongoing drought.

Here are some tips you can share with your communities on how to make their homes and property fire ready for the unpredictable wildfire season.

•        Homeowners should remove piles of lumber, downed trees, dead leaves, pine needles, and other debris that can burn away from their property.

•         Mow their grass and keep it short.

• Make sure organic mulch is at least 5 feet from the home.

•         Clean fireplaces and wood stove chimneys at least twice annually.

•         Keep the roof and gutters free of leaves and other debris.

•         Have working smoke detectors on each floor of your home.

•         Do not dispose of ashes until they are cold to the touch.

•         Trim evergreen trees near the perimeter of your home.

•         Keep a clear area around any propane tanks on your property.

• Cover attic vents with metal wire mesh, no larger than 1/8 inch, to prevent sparks from entering home.

• Enclose under-eave and soffit vents or screen with metal mesh to prevent sparks from entering the home.

• Screen or box-in areas below patios, porches, and decks to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.

Wildfires are devastating and often leave citizens and their communities in ruin.  Please share these tips with your community to help them protect their homes and property.