An unusually cooler summer in the Pacific Northwest has given firefighting crews some relief this year. Oil-rich pine trees along with grasses and brush in dry, hot summer heat are the perfect fuel for wildfires, which have engulfed several thousands of acres during the past summer seasons.
According to news station KGW, the peak of wildfire season is July 1 through August 20. This year, however, the cold, wet June weather pushed the wildfire season back three weeks. The cooler weather has kept grasses and brush greener, so even multiple lightening strikes are not producing large-scale fires. So far, for example, only two wildfires have affected the state of Oregon this summer.
While this news is can help residents put their fears aside, they should not relax when it comes to taking wildfire precautionary measures. After all, there are still several weeks remaining in the wildfire season.
Take the following steps to help protect your home and business for a wildfire:
- Remove all pine needles that have fallen on the ground around a building. Additionally, do not lay pine needles down as a form of mulch or a decorative landscape element. Pine needles, even dry ones, contain oil in them that can easily ignite.
- Clear the area around a building of any dry brush, and move flammable vegetation at least 30 feet away from a building.
- If you like the look of vegetation around a building, consider planting succulents. These easy-to-manage plants are rich in color and moisture—even during dry, hot weather—and can help act as a fire barrier.
- Keep all combustible materials, such as gas tanks and flammable chemicals, away from a building.
- Keep your landscape well manicured. Well-watered lawns and trimmed hedges are harder for fires to penetrate.