California is ablaze with some of the worst wildfires in the history of the state and the nation, and it will be some time before the fires are fully contained and can be truly doused. Many experts believe the fires were caused in large part by human activity and climate change.
While no individual person can prevent the effects of climate change from wreaking havoc on the wilderness, there are certain behavioral practices you can abide by to ensure you do not start a fire in a wildfire-prone area. Here are some tips from our real estate appraisers in Napa County, CA about how you can reduce the chances of wildfire:
- Campfires or bonfires: If you are to have a campfire or bonfire, make sure you only start the fire in an appropriate pit that is completely clear of vegetation and surrounded by stones. You should never, ever leave a fire unattended—before you go to bed for the night, make sure your fire is fully doused with water and smothered with dirt. If the weather is windy, do not start a fire—wait and do it on a different day when the conditions are safer.
- Yard waste: Only burn yard waste in 50-gallon drums or in fire pits that meet the above standards. Again, it is critical that you never leave a fire unattended. Make sure you completely douse or smother the fire before you walk away from it. In addition, some municipalities do not allow you to burn yard waste or rubbish, so make sure you abide by the rules in your local area. If you are allowed to burn, do not burn anything that’s highly combustible, such as paper or fabric that’s been soaked in oil or gasoline. And again, never start a fire on a windy day.
- Smoking: It’s safest for everyone if you quit smoking entirely. But if you do smoke, make sure you properly dispose of all used matches and butts in a closed container or cup of water while you’re outdoors. You should keep all lighters and matches away from children so they do not accidentally start a fire themselves.
- Vehicles and tools: Never park a hot car or machine on top of dry grass, and avoid allowing gasoline or oil to spill on top of grass or vegetation. If you have off-road vehicles or equipment that you use in wooded areas, such as a chainsaw or a tractor, make sure it’s outfitted with a spark arrestor.
- Fireworks: As a general rule, it’s safer to not use fireworks at all, especially in dry conditions. But if you do use fireworks, always have a bucket of water, hose or fire extinguisher handy, and consider wetting down the surrounding area before setting them off. Never let children use fireworks or sparklers without supervision or training. Do not light off fireworks when the weather is windy. Douse all used fireworks with water to ensure they are fully extinguished.
For more information about preventing wildfires, contact County Appraisals Inc. to speak with one of our expert real estate appraisers in Napa County, CA.
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