Wildfire Season: Here's how you can protect your home
WEST RICHLAND, Wash. -- As the weather gets hotter, it's a surefire sign wildfire season is upon us again.
Charred sage brush speckling the hillside serves as a reminder of last year's Candy Mountain Fire.
Firefighters said they're already preparing for this wildfire season.
“I just couldn't believe the flames,” Ann Marie Lenaeus said. “And how fast they were moving across the mountain.”
One hundred families evacuated in the middle of the night last September--Lenaeus was one of them.
“I go, what do we take?” she said. “And my husband looks at me and goes, ‘well get the kids first!’” she laughed.
And in all the mayhem--Lenaeus said she didn't remember the important things she'd want to take with her in case flames destroyed her home.
“The passports, the social security cards, all that stuff in the moment I didn't think about,” she said.
Lenaeus said that night taught her family something.
“We need a plan. We had no plan,” she said. “Now we have a list of all those things and they're all located, and we need to get them in a fire box.”
Benton County Fire District 4 is already in their annual refresher training to get them ready for the wildfire season.
“Get ready,” Captain Tom Harper said. “Because they've already started to happen in the last couple weeks here in the Tri-Cities. And as these temperatures keep climbing we'll keep having more and more.”
Harper said the most important thing you should do to prepare is create what they call a “defensible space” around your house.
“Keep it green, keep it clean, keep it low,” Harper said.
Keep your grass green, mowed, and watered. Clear your yard and deck of extra debris like wood piles or grass clippings.
“It doesn't take much to start grass on fire when it's 100 degrees out,” he said.
And turn your sprinklers on if the fire gets close.
If you give the firefighters a call, they can also come out to your property and do a survey to let you know of anything you can change to make your property safer against a wildfire.