Fire danger extreme and climbing; experts want everyone prepared
TRI-CITIES, Wash. —
Fire experts said our extremely hot, and soon to be windy weather is making the already extreme fire danger even worse.
On top of that, the Department of Natural Resources said low-humidity is making some trees drier than already cut firewood.
They said Washington forests are more likely to catch fire than any other time they've ever recorded.
That's why experts are encouraging everyone to get their homes prepared.
Pasco Fire Prevention Specialist Ben Shearer said wildfires like those sweeping through Northern California could happen here.
"We could have some of those same problems they're experiencing in other places," he said.
That's why he said it's time for everyone to get serious about protecting their homes and reducing risk.
Especially this week, with hot, windy weather drying the already parched landscape.
"The drier something is the faster its going to burn and the hotter it's going to burn," he explained. "We always think living in the middle of town we've got green lawns and everything's safe, but if you actually look around your house you're going to find piled up leaves, piled up tumbleweeds against your house."
Shearer recommends a quick walk around your house with a garbage bag, clearing gutters of dry leaves, pine needles and anything flammable.
Fire experts recommend at least 30 feet of defensible, non-flammable space around your home.
It can be rocks, sidewalk or path, or a neatly kept garden without weeds.
Because plots of dry, yellow weeds are especially at risk, but he said not to mow them down until next week.
"A little sparks going to make this field go off," he said. "Not only is it going to start a small fire, with the winds kicking up that small fire is going to become a big one very quickly."
He compares it to blowing on a campfire, except the blaze is much harder to catch and contain.
"If we've got a little breeze pushing that, not only does it help to create a hotter fire but it pushes it faster through the fuel.
"As fast as the wind is blowing, that's how fast that fire can move," Shearer said.
Officials said once a fire takes off it could take days to extnguish, so they'd rather folks be safe than sorry.
"We're trying to get people to understand that we're going to have big fires very quickly," Shearer said.
The fire specialist said fire extinguishers don't work very well on wildfires, so you really need to make sure your water source and hose are ready, just in case.
Shearer said folks should download the CodeRed Mobile Alert App to your smart phone so officials are able to alert you in times of emergency.
For more information about what kind of instructions or information the program relays, visit here.