USDA advises residents to be wildfire ready: Need to know prevention and safety measures

May is National Wildfire Awareness month, and we all play a critical role in wildfire prevention.

Last year, 974 human-caused fires burned 63,626 acres across the USDA Forest Service Intermountain Region, which may have been avoided by following wildfire prevention practices. The public is encouraged to take proactive steps today to prevent devastating consequences tomorrow.

Actions the public can take while enjoying National Forest System lands and around their homes to prevent and protect against wildfire 

  • Create defensible space around your home.
  • Clear away flammable vegetation within at least 30 feet of your home.
  • Trim trees and bushes to keep them a safe distance from structures.
  • Dispose of dry leaves, branches, and other combustible materials promptly.
  • Visit firewise.orgto learn more about how you can protect your property.

Practice safe outdoor activities

  • When camping or picnicking, use established fire pits or grills where permitted.
  • Never leave campfires unattended, and ensure they are fully extinguished before leaving. Ashes must be cold to the touch.
  • Dispose of smoking materials responsibly; ensure they are completely extinguished.
  • Visit smokeybear.comto help prevent wildfire.

Be mindful of equipment use

  • Avoid using machinery that can produce sparks during hot, dry conditions.
  • Maintain equipment such as chainsaws and lawnmowers to prevent sparks and overheating.

Stay informed and prepared

  • Stay updated on local weather conditions and wildfire danger ratings.
  • Have an emergency evacuation plan in place for your family and pets.
  • Keep important documents, medications, and emergency supplies readily accessible.

Respect fire restrictions

  • Understand that these measures are in place to protect lives, property, and natural resources.
  • Observe any fire bans or restrictions in place in your area.
  • Explosives, exploding targets, and fireworks are restricted year-round on all National Forest System lands.
  • Forest Orderswill help you stay in the know and prevent surprises.
  • More web-based tools about how to prepare for and prevent wildfires.
  • Wildfire Risk to Communitiesis a free, easy-to-use website with interactive maps, charts, and resources to help communities understand, explore, and reduce wildfire risk.
  • FEMAhas multiple resources on how to prepare for wildfires, stay safe during such an emergency, and what to do after a wildfire.
  • Fire information can be found on InciWeb the Incident Information System (wildfire.gov).
  • To help you get the most of your National Forest System lands experience, visit fs.usda.gov/visit/know-you-go.