The Facts on Wildfires and What You Can Do

From coast to coast, wildfires across the country have been making national news. Thousands of acres, homes and businesses have suffered and even faced destruction in lights of these flames.

Southern California isn’t the only area of the country that faces this threat. In 2008, 29 states had more than 10,000 acres scorched by wildfires, as a total of 5.2 million acres burned across the country. In fact, South Carolina ranked number 8 in the nation for number of wildfires in 2008. Though thousands of wildfires are started every year by natural causes—lightning strikes for example—many more are man-made disasters. Returning to the 2008 statistics, 8.856 fires were attributed to lightning strikes, while humans caused 70,093 fires.* Man-made wildfires can be more dangerous than natural fires, because they tend to occur in more populated areas.

Through we may never be able to eliminate wildfires, there are steps we can take to help lessen the danger of damage to our homes and businesses. As a National Preparedness Coalition member, your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional encourages you to follow these safety tips, courtesy of FEMA.

  • Always build fires away from nearby trees or shrubs.
  • Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house or business, clearing all flammable and combustible objects.
  • Remove debris from under decks and inside gutters.
  • Prune branches and shrubs within 15 feet of chimneys and stove pipes.
  • Replace highly flammable vegetation such as pine, eucalyptus, junipers and fir trees with lower growing, less flammable species. Check with your local garden store or fire department for suggestions.
  • Use fire-resistant siding.

*Statistics provided by the National Interagency Fire Center.

Sandy Hayden

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