Dry, windy weather and fire make a dangerous combination. The pictures above show what can happen when a lit cigarette meets dry pine straw (left) or an open grill is left unattended (right).
The Wilmington Fire Department and Firewise offer the following tips and reminders to help you protect your home and belongings from going up in smoke:
- Keep your gutters clean and free of pine straw or other debris.
- Make sure to remove any dry leaves or other debris from your yard. This can become kindling for a fire if a lit cigarette reaches it.
- Be sure NEVER to leave a grill unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Be sure your roof covering and assembly are nonflammable. Your roof is the most vulnerable spot for embers that blow in and collect.
- Keep the surface and area beneath decks and porches free of debris and leaves.
- Maintain a 3-to-5-foot “fuel free” space around your house and all attachments. No flammable mulch, woodpiles, or plants that can allow fire to touch the house.
- Screen vents with metal mesh; if possible, replace large windows with double paned or tempered glass to resist breakage during a fire.
- Ensure that trees and shrubs within the first 30 feet of your home are healthy, spaced apart, and not overhanging the house. If your home is on a slope, thin out vegetation to a further distance (50 to 100 feet) to slow fire’s spread as it approaches uphill.
During a wildfire like the Pine Valley fire, homes were in danger of catching on fire from embers or firebrands landing on the roof, in gutters, on or under decks and porches, or in vents or other openings in the home. Small flames (surface fire) that can also burn homes – such as dry grass that can allow a fire to run right up to the house.
Visit Firewise.org for more helpful tips for your home or business.