Wildfires can spread quickly and consume a vast amount of land and property in a short amount of time. But unlike many natural disasters, most wildfires are caused by people — and can be prevented by people, too.
Causes of Wildfires
Wildfires are unplanned fires that burn areas such as forests or grasslands. They can also encroach on developed residential and commercial areas. While lightning is a natural cause of wildfires, many of them are caused by humans.
Common causes include:
- Unattended or Poorly Management Campfires
- Improperly Discarded Cigarette Butts
- Burning of Debris
Most wildfires can be prevented by following fire use guidelines and being respectful when enjoying the outdoors. Never leave a campfire before it is fully extinguished and properly dispose of trash. When it comes to burning yard waste, be sure to follow local ordinances and avoid doing so on windy days.
There are many steps to take in order to be prepared for a wildfire. It's important to understand the risk and potential for fires in your area. When the potential is high, suggest residents have an evacuation plan for their family. Other things for residents to consider include:
- Where will you go?
- What will you bring?
- How will you communicate with loved ones?
- How will you receive updates from local authorities?
It’s all about emergency preparedness…knowing how residents will get out of harm's way, what they need to bring along and how you will keep them updated on the progress of emergency responders.
Many municipalities and local governments use mass notification systems like Swift911™ to alert people of natural disasters, including wildfires. This type of notification system can quickly reach thousands of people with critical alerts via phone, text or email.
Tools like GIS Mapping can even help public safety officials send targeted information to the most vulnerable regions.
How do you alert the public during a natural disaster?