Wildland fires can be catastrophic for forests but also for homeowners and their property. Fires are often caused by natural factors, but by far, the largest cause of wildfires is man-related. Learning about wildfire prevention and what you can do to help will reduce the number of fires. Preventing forest fires is everyone’s responsibility! The Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission's Prevention and Education Working Team (PEWT) offers several ways to take part. See the Prevention section for more information.
Fire Prevention Month in Nova Scotia
For Fire Prevention this month I thought I’d share an item we created in Nova Scotia. Albeit not perfect by any means it is a tool that visually is appealing to adults and children. I’ve seen two different versions of this, and my counterpart in the fire service ordered a doll house kit and made it out of wood. I like her version better for the reason the house is smaller, and she put two different types of roofing on it. Same concept though. There are little signs all over the house and property that shows simple things residents can do to reduce wildfire risk and were interchangeable so house can be made Fire safe or Not depending on your lesson. Now is the time of year we encourage residents to do yard cleanup and prepare, it should be ongoing though and done again in the spring. When fire risk is lowest is the best time to burn brush and clean roofs and gutters. A clean gutter not only offers fire protection but also keeps ice from damming up in the winter. The project cost under $100 to complete and can be used at events or to teach school kids in class. For our structural fire friends, the signs can be converted, the home opened for interior fire safety.
- Now is the time to clean up brush and burn piles while it is safe and wet to do so. Always follow your regional burning bylaws.
- Clean roofs, gutters, and yards of fallen leaves and needles. At least off roofs and gutters and away from structures. I know some like to maintain leaves for wintering insects/mammals.
- Mow grass within to 30 meters (100ft) of homes/structures.
- Maintain a buffer from plants/lawn and siding so if a fire does spread by surface it won’t catch your siding in fire.
- Sheath in decks, soffits, and vents. Decks shouldn’t allow any items to be stored under and or accumulation of dead materials, and install a mesh behind vents, so fire embers can’t enter and/or wildlife.
- Prune and thin trees within 30m (100ft) of structures.
Preparing and cleaning up your property isn’t just for fire, it reduces unwanted pests, rot, and maintains vegetation health. For more information visit www.nfpa.org under public education or www.firesmartcanada.ca
FIREWISE HOMEOWNER ASSESSMENT
FIREWISE HOMEOWNER ASSESSMENT
Rhode Island DEM, Division of Forest Environment, Forest Fire Program recently developed a Firewise Homeowner Assessment form that homeowners can print or fill out online and send directly back to Forest Fire staff. This is a wildland fire risk rating form for homeowners. The rating considers a home’s structural integrity, landscaping and access. The final rating should inform and educate the homeowner how at risk their home and property is to a wildland fire event and what steps they can take to reduce the risk.