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PREVENTING WILDFIRES

Fire Prevention

Fire needs three basic elements to burn--oxygen(air), fuel (any material that will burn), and heat(to ignite the fuel). Isolating any one of these elements from the others is the basis for fire prevention.

Preventing ignition is the key to fire prevention. Material that does not reach its ignition point cannot burn. Many ignition sources are found in the rural environment, welding equipment, overheated cars, trucks, tractors, or electrical motors, electrical shorts, heating equipment, cigarettes, are some examples of potential sources of fire. To reduce the chances of fire, one must identify and monitor the potential ignition sources.

To reduce property damage a fire must be detected and controlled quickly:

  • Install and maintain smoke detectors in barns and other structures.
  • Provide an adequate, accessible water supply with nozzles and sufficient hose to reach structures.
  • Place and maintain fire extinguishers in buildings, on tractors, trucks, and other machinery.
  • Install and maintain safe electrical wiring systems.
  • Post no smoking signs in and around barns and other buildings.
  • With new construction or remodeling use fire resistant building materials.
  • Cover vents with wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering your structures.
  • Locate new structures a safe distance away from others to prevent the rapid spread of fire.

To reduce the threat of fire, develop and execute a good preventative maintenance program combined with cleanliness and good housekeeping:

  • Keep areas clean by routinely picking up feed, seed, fertilizer bags, and other paper.
  • Keep tall grass and weeds down around buildings.
  • Never pile scrap wood, tree limbs, or other materials near buildings.
  • Store firewood 20-30 feet from any combustible material.
  • Never store fuels inside a building.
  • Clean-up fuel spills that may saturate the ground, wooden, or concrete floors.
  • Store chemicals, paints, thinners, and other flammable materials in one place and away from fire sources. NOT under decks or elevated porches.
  • Keep tractors and other machinery clean to prevent engine fires that can spread to buildings or equipment.
  • Keep electrical motors free of dust, grease, and oil buildups to prevent overheating.
  • Never allow smoking in barns or around flammable materials.

Be proactive create a defensible space around your home. It is one of the most important and effective steps you can take to protect your home from catastrophic wildfire. Defensible space is the area between a structure and an oncoming wildfire (or between a burning structure and wildland vegetation) where nearby vegetation has been modified to reduce a wildfire's intensity.

PLEASE READ!!! If you live in an area which is susceptable to wild fire please link to and read the information about Annual Safety Checks, Evacuation Tips and Defending your Home contained in Fact Sheet 6.304--Forest Home Fire Safety, Colorado State University Extension. This information is provided by F.C. Dennis, Wildfire Hazard Mitigation Coordinator, Colorado State Forest Service.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Wildland Fire Management in Oklahoma (MESONET.org)

NREM-5019: Need to Burn Debris? Burn Within the Law