In an era plagued by increasingly devastating wildfires, the need to safeguard our homes and protect our families has become paramount. As these ferocious infernos continue to ravage landscapes around the world, it is imperative that we arm ourselves with knowledge and preparedness. This article delves into the realm of wildfire survival, offering vital strategies and practical tips to defend our homes and loved ones. By understanding wildfire behavior, implementing preventative measures, and developing comprehensive emergency plans, we can significantly enhance our chances of mitigating the impact and ensuring the safety of our homes and families. Let us embark on this journey towards wildfire resilience and protection.
Wildfires come in all shapes and sizes. They always begin small, and if they are contained quickly, there is minimal property and landscape damage. The problem is that most wildfires start in remote locations during the dry season when plenty of tinder, dried grasses and wood is littering the ground. If there is little or no wind, fire breaks can be constructed and the fire will burn itself out.
However, in windy conditions, a wildfire can become an uncontrollable beast. Wind will feed the fire with oxygen, making the fire itself more intense, and it will seed the fire in other places by blowing red hot burning embers around. These embers will land among more dried grasses, dried wood and worse, on roofs and wooden homes where they have a very good chance to set the building ablaze.
When a wildfire threatens, unless you are in immediate danger and need to flee the area, there are some things you can do to protect your home and family. But remember, fire takes no prisoners. If the wildfire is out of control and the danger is imminent, it is always in your best interest to flee rather than fight.
The Horrors of a Wildfire
Chuck Overmeyer lived near Yarnell, Arizona, when one of the deadliest wildfires in history flared up in October of 2013. He at first attempted to secure his home and the surrounding area, but when the fire became obviously out of control, he and his wife packed up what they could and drove out of there when the fire began coming directly towards his home, watching embers alight on his roof in the rear view mirror.
At the local bar and grill, Overmeyer watched the television in despair as his home burned down on live TV. Counting his blessings, he was lucky to have escaped alive. His was one of the 50 homes consumed by the fire, but not so fortunate were the crew of a 20 man Hotshot wild fire fighting group.
The Hotshot team was specially trained to fight wildfires and was in the immediate area. But the wind blew the fire back at them, and although they quickly deployed their fireproof shelters, the smoke and the heat claimed the lives of 19 of the 20 men there. It was a tragedy so great the even President Obama expressed public sympathy for those brave men.
Minimize the Risk to your Home
Once again, a raging wildfire out of control is not a place to be near. But wildfires are unpredictable, and even though they might be burning ferociously across the street, they may never get near another property just a few hundred feet away. Here are ways to minimize the risk to your home if you live in wildfire territory.
- Open Up the Area Directly Adjacent to your Home – Make sure nothing flammable is within 5 feet of your home. Wood piles, brush, overhanging trees, and propane tanks should be removed. Plant high-moisture perennial plants and keep the area well watered and hydrated.
- Fire Breaks – Incorporate driveways, gravel walkways and lawns as fire breaks between your home and trees. Extend these breaks out to 100 feet, if possible.
- Keep Water Available – Water can be used to put out embers if they land on your roof or outbuildings. If you use well water, get an auxiliary generator to keep the water flowing through the electrical pump. Water filled ponds are the best firebreaks available. Landscaping with small ponds looks good and adds positive protection.
Survival Depends on You
Many people have fought wildfires and have won. If their home is well fortified, by using the suggestions above, the chances for successfully protecting your home and family is greatly increased. Although landscaping a home to repel a wildfire is one of the best things you can do, using water to douse embers and small flames will go a long way to wildfire survival in any instance.
Good survival tips in the wildfire footage.