California & Oregon Wildfire Destroy Thousands of Acres This Summer

California & Oregon Wildfire Destroy Thousands of Acres This Summer

The West Coast had a particularly trying summer. California, Washington and Oregon were all hit by a number of different forest fires, and collectively, thousands of acres burned. In California, according to CNN, more than two-dozen separate wildfires burned more than 130,000 acres—that’s just about three times California’s typical five-year wildfire average of nearly 50,000 acres during the usual fire season. In the Northwest, hundreds of Washington and Oregon residents were forced to evacuate their homes—in one town in Washington, over 38,000 acres burned up, and over 100 structures were lost in the process. Three firefighters also lost their lives fighting fires in the Pacific Northwest too.

Large swaths of California, Oregon and Washington are currently susceptible to wildfires. If you live in an area that’s prone to wildfires, then you should make sure to take some time to build up an emergency wildfire kit, and to also create a basic evacuation plan for you and your family. While wildfires can strike suddenly, there are a few things that you can do to help increase your home’s chances of surviving a wildfire. For instance, make sure your gutters and roof are completely free of dry, natural detritus like leaves or twigs—during a forest fire, sparks can often travel through the air and land on rooftops, so you don’t want any kindling to be up there.

If a fire is approaching, ensure that anything that could burn within 30 feet of your house—like piles of dry leaves, old newspapers, junk and so on—are removed. Double check that all of your windows and vents are closed up tight (you don’t want any sparks getting inside your home!), and try to dampen the exterior walls of your house with a garden hose. Lastly, you should never wait out a forest fire—if you have a chance to evacuate then do so, because wildfires can turn from bad to worse remarkably fast. Having an emergency kit—either one packed away in your car or home—with basic supplies like food and water, clothes, sleeping bags and necessary toiletries will guarantee that you and your family will be able to evacuate safely and comfortably. Wildfires can be terribly devastating, and if you live in an area that’s wildfire-prone, then it’s a good idea to prepare your family and your home for a possible wildfire. Unfortunately, the West Coast’s drought won’t be ending anytime soon, which is why it’s so important to develop a good wildfire emergency plan right away.

Source: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/03/us/california-wildfires/
http://www.kgw.com/story/news/local/2015/06/15/oregon-and-washington-wildfire-updates/71264920/
http://www.ready.gov/wildfires

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