May 1st marks the beginning of the International Association of Wildland Fire’s (IAWF) Global Wildfire Awareness Week. The event will be celebrated all over the Northern Hemisphere, and runs until May 7th.
The theme for this awareness event is “Your Home…Your Responsibility.” The impact of wildfires was one reason cited by the United Nations when it declared 2011 the International Year of Forests.
Last year, thanks to intense heatwaves in Russia, at least 500 wildfires swept across the country killing 50 people, leaving several thousand homeless, and devastating the country’s agricultural system. In arid Colorado, wildfires are a constant threat. Just as Boulder was recovering from last year’s devastating wildfires, another blaze broke out in Larimer County, burning thousands of acres and destroying over a dozen homes.
Informed action ensures that we as society will lessen the causes and effects of unwanted wildfire. The Global Wildfire Awareness Week will reflect on those most affected by wildfire and will share their stories, experiences and lessons learned. Wildfire prevention is a shared responsibility.
Wildfire affects residents, businesses and governments on every continent and we are using our resources to link and assist those groups, ” said IAWF President Chuck Bushey. “This is a key time to share wildfire prevention information with the world, ” he added. The IAWF’s full proclamation and a growing body of resources are available on a new website — wildfireworld.org — orientated towards homeowners, firefighters, communities and governmental organizations throughout the world.
If you live in an area where wildfires are a seasonal threat, here are 10 Quick and Easy Steps to Prepare for a Wildfire:
1. Cut grass and weeds, rake leaves and pine needles and remove yard debris and branches.
2. Relocate woodpile and left over building materials at least 30’ from house.
NOTE: It is best to not locate the woodpile directly uphill or downhill of any structure.
3. Signs, address and access are well marked, and visible both night and day. Reflective numbering/lettering that is 3” or larger is recommended.
4. Prune dead and low-hanging tree limbs 6 to 10 feet from the ground around house. Remove all dead vegetation in brush and shrubbery.
5. Store all gas, oil and other chemicals away from the house. This includes propane tanks on BBQ pits.
6. Keep roof and gutters free from leaves and needles.
7. Enclose spaces under porches, decks, foundations and overhangs, and roof/attic vent openings with 1/8” metal screening.
8. Have garden hoses connected on all sides of your house.
9. Place tools (such as ladders, shovels, rakes and hoes) for easy access to fire fighters.
10. Check driveway for adequate clearance for emergency vehicles. (Both height and width).