How to Prevent Forest Fires According to an Oregon arborist
Forest fires are often avoidable, but not many people are abreast to all of the precautions you can take to ensure that you’re being safe and you remain safe. One thing’s for sure. Whether they’re accidental or preventable, fires happen every year in Oregon, and you need to know several things when it comes to the safety of your home, and more importantly, your friends and family. If you want a crash course in safety guidelines when it comes to preventing forest fires, contact an Oregon arborist, because they can answer all of the questions you may have.
One of the biggest culprits of forest fires are abandoned campfires. You stay warm and enjoy some snacks by the fire with friends, but the fire is not properly extinguished. What started out as a fun and relaxing environment can get really nasty, and very quickly. Here’s how you prevent things like this from happening.
First, know your environment. Are you allowed to have campfires where you’re at? If not, there’s probably a reason for that. If you are allowed, make sure the fire is small and manageable. If you make it too big, the fire will get out of hand, and it could get to a point that is impossible for one person, or even a small group of people, to control. By the time emergency responders get to the scene, it could be a full-fledged forest fire, and those can take a very long time to put out. What started out as a small gathering between family members or friends can become a problem for many more people.
Make sure you clear the area and the fire is maintained inside a fire ring. That’s important. Be aware of your surroundings, because when fire spreads, it spreads quickly. You have to make sure it’s containable before you even get it going.
This one seems obvious, but keep an eye on the fire! If you leave it unattended, issues can arise, and it may be too late by the time you realize what’s happening. Another obvious point, but water should always be readily available, as should a shovel. Also, in terms of storage, you need to take precautions as well, because all firewood should be stored at least 10 feet from your ring, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Also, take it easy on the lighter fluid. Sure, some people are pyros, but safety comes first when preparing a fire. If you go overboard on the lighter fluid, it can lead to additional complications and create a far less safe situation for all in attendance.
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You also need to know how to stop a fire, and that takes time and precision. When you’re done enjoying the warmth a fire brings, slowly pour water over it and then scrape and separate the coals. Water is definitely your friend during this process. Continue pouring and scraping, and even use the back of your hand to see if heat is still coming from the area. If heat remains, you’re not finished yet. This is an area you need to be diligent with because a fire that’s not completely out can be resilient, and it can come back just as strong, if not stronger, than it was before.
Believe it or not, while some forest fires can start from a previous fire, which makes complete sense, others can start from something very small that doesn’t seem to be threatening at all. Such is the case with cigarettes. Cigarettes should not be discarded on the ground in any circumstance, seeing as they’re litter and dangerous for animals to eat, but if they’re not completely out, they can cause a wildfire, leading to a much bigger issue. This can be avoided by simply getting rid of your cigarettes in a proper receptacle after they’re properly extinguished.
Fireworks in a wooded area are never a good idea, and if they’re shot off in a forest, it’s a recipe for disaster. Because of the unpredictability of the fireworks, you can’t determine where it’s going to end up, and while you may enjoy the initial rush from the boom and beautiful colors, the ramifications can be really bad if a fire starts because of it. If you want to be safest, avoid fireworks in general, but using them in a wooded area is not advisable, to say the least.
Sometimes big fires can start in your own backyard, and that’s because some residents do not follow local burning ordinances. As National Geographic suggests, and we agree, check with your local municipality about what you can and cannot do when it comes to burning waste. While it might be a pain in the neck to find out in a timely manner, it can still save you a lot of pain and heartache in the long run if it prevents a forest fire from beginning.
If you’re ever unsure of anything when it comes to preparing, extinguishing or proper maintenance of a fire, contact a certified Oregon arborist. While it may cost you a few bucks to get their years of training and expertise on your side, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
As mentioned before, they often can give you tips based on things they’ve seen or heard in the field. Fire doesn’t have to be scary, it’s meant to be used for good. It’s how our ancestors stayed warm, and continues to be a valuable resource today. We all just need to make sure we’re handling it safely, because if improperly ignited, it can be downright unforgiving.