WILDFIRE DANGERS IN THE TRI-STATE AREA
While many people think major wildfires are a problem only in the western United States, most wildfires actually occur east of the Mississippi. In the eastern U.S., wildfire danger peaks during the spring months of March, April, and May, as well as in October and November, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Low humidity, strong and dry winds and dried leaves all create a fire risk. The DCNR says debris burning is the top cause of wildfires in Pennsylvania. These fires most often start in a backyard and spread to bordering undeveloped forest areas, called the “wildland-urban interface.” The more people moving into these areas increases the risk of wildfires.
Red Flag Warnings
Recently, the Delaware Valley has had numerous “red flag warnings” issued by the National Weather Service. The warnings are issued when warm temperatures, low humidity and strong winds significantly increase the risk of wildfires. Residents of the area under the warning should avoid burning and open flames. Make sure to safely dispose of cigarettes. Starting your car on dry grass could also spark a fire.
To reduce your risk of a wildfire, the DCNR suggests keeping an area of about 5 feet around your home clear of all combustible material. Keep flammable objects such as wood piles, gas cans and lawn equipment at least 30 feet away from your home. Make sure to check conditions before burning backyard debris. Choose an area away from trees, power lines, buildings, fences and
vehicles. Never burn when it’s windy or when it’s very dry outside. Also, be sure to check with your local municipality for local burning ordinances. Keep a hose and shovel close to any outdoor burning and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving. Visit the National Fire Protection Association for more information.
Wildfires can occur anytime and spread quickly. Keep your home and family safe by taking precautions to avoid sparking a fire that can destroy homes, forested areas and lives.
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