Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is observed annually on the first Saturday in May and this year, it takes place on May 4. It’s a national campaign that encourages people and organizations to take action to raise awareness of wildfire so that people can improve the safety of their homes and communities against wildfire. There is said to be a steady increase in wildfire activity in the United States over the past decade, and experts predict it will remain. That’s why it becomes essential to raise awareness and take action to help protect your home and community against the wildfire threat.
History of National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day
Wildfire Community Preparedness Day has been celebrated annually since 2014. Founded by National Fire Protection Association (N.F.P.A.), this campaign is an opportunity for individuals and communities living in the areas prone to wildfire to participate in projects that can help reduce wildfire risks and increase preparedness for wildfire. The N.F.P.A. provides the Prep Day toolkit that includes information such as project ideas and safety tips. Individuals and communities can apply to receive 500 U.S.D. project funding awards to support the project from State Farm.
Wildfires burn across the United States every year, burning down thousands of homes. It is said that more than half the time, the cause of burned homes is not direct contact with wildfire flames or radiant heat but embers that can travel distances over a mile through the wind. The dry leaves, pine needles, and debris in the decks and porches of a house catch these embers. They ignite and slowly but surely burn it down. For that reason, removing those fuel sources from the area around the home is a significant way to make it safer from embers or wildfire flames.
Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is for you to spend a single day on increasing the safety against wildfire by clearing around the area of the house — the home ignition zone. It can include removing dry leaves and pine needles, disposing of collected debris, clearing decks or porches and underneath, and removing low-hanging tree branches. While doing the project, it is necessary to stay safe — working with two or more people and wearing safety gear or personal protective equipment. It is also essential to be aware of the conditions of the environment.
National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day timeline
As the deadliest fire in American history, the Peshtigo Fire causes an estimated 2,500 deaths.
As Alaska’s worst fire of the year, the Taylor Complex Fire burns up to 6.6 million acres.
The Kincade Fire burns 76,000 acres — 189 buildings destroyed, 90,000 buildings threatened.
The Glass Fire burns 67,484 acres, with 1,555 structures destroyed.
National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day FAQs
What items might you include in a preparedness kit for a wildfire?
A basic emergency supply kit may include items such as water, food, a battery-powered or hand-crank radio, a flashlight, and a first aid kit.
What should you do in case your house is near a forest fire that has just begun?
Stay calm and keep your family together; call 911; fill sinks and tubs with cold water; keep doors and windows closed but unlocked; stay outside and keep away from outside walls and windows.
What is a family communication plan?
It is to tell your family what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in case of an emergency.
How to Observe National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day
Spread the word
Tell others that you’re involved in the project to reduce the risks of wildfire. They will most likely participate once they know about the campaign. The more people know, the better it will be to reduce the wildfire risks in the community.
While doing the project, it’s best to work together with two or more people for safety purposes. In case there is heavy lifting or other tricky situations, you’ll have someone to help.
Before starting the project, make sure you wear the proper clothing and personal protective equipment or safety gear. Also, be aware of the conditions of the environment since your project can disturb critters such as bees and snakes.
5 Facts About Wildfires You Need To Know
Most animals can escape them
Thanks to their instinct, larger mammals usually depart their habitat before wildfires happen.
Over 80% of cases are man-made
Reportedly, more than 80% of wildfires are direct results of human errors such as unattended campfires and discarded cigarettes.
They can produce fire tornadoes
Fire tornadoes or fire whirls are rare, but they can be responsible for the rapid spread of fires.
They are good in some ways
Wildfires are good in some ways as they clear dead and diseased plants and nourish the soil.
Some lightning strikes cause them
Lightning strikes the earth more than 100,000 times a day, and 10 to 20% of these lightning strikes can cause fires.
Why National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is Important
Wildfires can be devastating, so we have to go to great lengths to protect our homes and communities against them. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is a chance for us to do so and reduce the risks of wildfires.
To raise awareness
The more people know about wildfire prevention measures, the safer the communities will be. Besides removing fuel sources around the home ignition zone. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day gives us a chance to plan alternate routes in case of wildfires.
To be more responsible
It is said that more than 80% of wildfires are direct results of human errors such as unattended campfires and discarded cigarettes. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is observed to remind us about that. So, we have to be more responsible when it comes to things like fires.
National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day dates