Preparing for forest/grass fire near your home

By Catherine Haug, July 31, 2017

This summer there is high risk for forest and grass fires; are you prepared?

The following is by C. Wyn, an ESP member from Columbia Falls; I’ve edited it and added headings in bold. See also his 2015 posting on this site: Preparing for Disaster or Prolonged Power Outage; and my recent post: Preparing for disaster, advice for seniors. Here’s his new article:

“A lot of houses are lost many minutes or even an hour or two after the fire sweeps by. If a lot of homes get swept by fire in a short time, there are never enough fire fighters to get back in there and find all these little smokes before the grow. (Read on for more).

Preparing your home and immediate surroundings for wild fires

Clear leaves, needles and other debris from your gutters, deck, patio, etc.. Sparks/embers from a nearby fire can easily ignite them; they slowly heat up the house siding, roof, or deck and then it goes big.

In a fire emergency any lawn/patio furniture, etc. can also be fuel for a wild fire. It should be moved as far from the structure as possible or moved inside where it will not act as a starter fuel to burn the building.

If a fire is approaching, our plan is to set up sprinklers on the side of the house that may be exposed to the fire. The water from the sprinklers will act as a line of defense against the fire. However, if your water is pumped from your well,  you may wish to have an emergency generator at the ready.

Generator for emergency power

When our big generator is not in use, we store it only after running it until there is no fuel in the tank and carburetor, to eliminate the risk of fuel going bad and gumming up the works. Because we would use it to run our well pump if the grid goes down, as we expect it would during a wild fire event in the neighborhood, we recently ran it out, then fueled it up 10 days ago; we use ethanol-free premium gas for small engines like this.

[See also C. Wyn’s article: Preparing for Disaster or Prolonged Power Outage, which has an in-depth discussion about sizing and setting-up generators.]

For more tips:

Check out for good advice for yard and home fire defense.”


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