Firewise Communities Offers Wildfire Prevention and Safety Tips
In light of the recent wildfires in Ka‘u, Firewise Communities Hawai‘i, a local chapter of a national program working towards wildfire prevention, is offering some useful tips to Big Island residents for wildfire safety and prevention.
Denise Laitinen, Firewise Communities coordinator for Hawai‘i, says creating a safety perimeter around your home of roughly 30-feet is a good precaution against wilfires.
“It’s about being lean, clean, and green,” says Laitinen. “Even if you only have five or ten feet of yard, you can still be Firewise.”
Create a safety-buffer around your home by following these tips:
- Prune shrubs and trees so hanging branches are no lower than six to 10 feet off the ground to prevent flames from travelling to tree tops.
- Clean up dead leaves and plants from yard.
- Grow plants with high-moisture content or native species.
- Ensure plants closest to the house are low to the ground.
In the event of a fire approaching your home, Firewise recommends the following actions:
- Call 911!
- Close entrances, windows, and other openings, as well as shutters, heavy drapes, and blinds to prevent sparks from blowing into the home and igniting.
- Turn off residential fuel sources including gas and butane.
- Protect yourself: wear cotton clothing including long pants, long sleeved shirt, gloves, and a handkerchief to protect your face.
- Keep tools and water handy: ladder, shovel, rake and long water house if possible. Fill buckets or other bulk containers with water.
- Wet the roof: if your roof can potentially burn, spray it down with a hose.
- Prepare vehicles: back as many vehicles as possible into the garage and close the door. If evacuation is necessary, close the garage door when leaving. If you don’t have a garage, park vehicles in a manner that enables a quick getaway.
- Evacuate the family. Take family and pets to a safe location, if it becomes necessary.