Utah, known for its breathtaking landscapes and iconic sites like Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon, also grapples with a dark side. Unfortunately, the Beehive state’s scorching hot summers lead to rampant and devastating wildfires.
As of early September 2023, Utah had already faced 687 wildfires, burning over 14,000 acres of land. This alarming number highlights the persistent danger of wildfires, with no signs of it abating. Additionally, 60% of wildfires in Utah are sparked by lightning strikes, making them unpredictable.
To protect your family and home effectively, you must thoroughly prepare. Knowing your risk, taking preventive measures, and understanding the importance of an extensive evacuation plan can make all the difference.
This article will guide you to 13 essential wildfire protection tips, helping you fortify your home and enhancing your readiness for potential evacuations.
13 Utah Wildfire Safety Tips You Need to Know
Your family’s safety and the protection of your home should always be your top priorities. Here are some fundamental wildfire safety tips to get you started.
How to Prevent Wildfires from Damaging Your Home
Protecting your home from peril demands a combination of wildfire preparedness, vigilance, and adherence to local regulations. Below are proactive measures to prevent wildfires from damaging your home in Utah:
1. Clear flammable items around your home
Wildfires can travel at speeds of up to 14.27 miles per hour, and when combined with Utah’s arid environment, it’s a recipe for disaster. To avoid adding fuel to the fire—literally—clear your home’s exterior of flammable items, such as firewood, tall grass, and furniture. Bring these items inside or place them in a pool to avoid flames from reaching and igniting them near your home.
2. Turn off propane tanks and relocate propane appliances
Prevent potential explosions by turning off and moving propane appliances away from approaching fires. If you can’t move them entirely, consider bringing these items indoors or in a pool to keep them safe. Always follow manufacturer guidelines when turning off propane tanks and relocating appliances.
3. Connect garden hoses for firefighters
Arm yourself with water resources. Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots, ensuring they are readily available for yourself, firefighters, and other volunteers aiding in firefighting efforts.
4. Place water buckets strategically
With the rapid speed of wildfires, it’s best to prepare by filling several water buckets and strategically placing them around your home. Waiting for buckets to fill during a crisis can consume valuable seconds that you could better use for moving important items or evacuating.
5. Leave exterior lights on for visibility
Ensure your exterior lights remain on, especially during smoky or dark hours at night. This simple act enhances the visibility of your home to firefighters, aiding their firefighting efforts.
6. Create a defensible space
Parched grass and fallen leaves often fuel wildfires. To reduce the risk of wildfire damage, rake out landscaping mulch and trim shrubs and tree branches, creating a fire-resistant zone five feet from your property. Doing so lets you establish a dry moat around your house, minimizing the potential for fire damage. A fire will struggle to reach your home if it lacks additional kindling to help its progress.
7. Adhere to Utah state regulations
Prioritize adherence to safety precautions and regulations as defined by the state of Utah. Ensure you follow local rules and seek wildfire risk assessment opportunities. Complying with these risk management guidelines contributes to the safety of your home and community in the face of potential wildfires.
How to Prepare Your Family and Home for a Wildfire Evacuation
In wildfire-prone regions like Utah, preparing for an immediate evacuation is essential. Here are some tips on ensuring your family’s safety and safeguarding your property during an emergency.
8. Prepare a Go Bag or Emergency Supply Kit
The essence of a safe and quick evacuation lies in the “grab and go” concept. This saves precious minutes and eliminates the risk of leaving behind essential items. You can swiftly grab a pre-prepared emergency supplies kit, ensuring you have everything. For a list of things to include in your emergency supply bag, you can refer to this website.
9. Develop a Wildfire Action Plan
Plot out your exits. Wildfires move fast, so identify the quickest route out of harm’s way. Familiarize yourself with evacuation destinations, routes, and emergency contacts. Share this plan with your family to ensure everyone is well-informed.
10. Know the community’s emergency response plan
You won’t be the only one evacuating during a wildfire in your area. Hence, acquaint yourself with your community’s emergency response plan and follow the instructions provided by local authorities. These steps are tailored to the specific risks and conditions in your area.
While waiting for an official announcement regarding evacuation plans, it’s important to move at the first sign of danger to ensure your family’s safety and protect your home.
11. Drive carefully with headlights on
During evacuation, exercise caution while driving with your headlights on. Be vigilant for other vehicles on the road, and be prepared to share the road with fleeing wildlife or livestock.
12. Secure windows and doors before leaving
Before evacuating, ensure all windows and doors are securely closed to prevent fires and limit potential smoke damage. Leave them unlocked and with lights on to allow access for emergency personnel and improve visibility.
13. Account for your pets
Amid the fast-paced evacuation, remember to account for your pets. Keep them nearby and, if possible, move them to a safe place in advance.
Stay Prepared, Stay Safe
As with any natural adversity, preparation is key! Protect what matters most and equip yourself for the unexpected. These proactive steps can protect your family, shield your property, and add to your peace of mind.
Count on All Dry as your reliable partner in managing various adversities, including fire, mold, and water damage caused by wildfires, storms, and floods in Utah.
Our Utah disaster restoration expertise ensures that you have a dedicated team ready to support you during times of crisis. For all your fire damage restoration needs, don’t hesitate to contact us. Together, let’s prioritize preparedness and safety!