Now that summer weather is finally here, don’t forget rising temperatures have a downside: increased fire risk.
So far this year, bark and brush-related fires have been less of an issue due to cooler- and wetter-than-normal summer conditions, according to the Seattle Fire Department.
In June 2021, SFD responded to 74 bark and brush-related fires. This year, SFD responded to 27 in June.
Brush fires can force highway lane closures with decreased visibility on roads. High winds combined with a large brush fire to lead authorities to temporarily evacuate residents from multiple apartment buildings in Renton last year.
Here are some tips from the Seattle Fire Department on how to avoid a brush fire as temperatures rise and vegetation dries out this summer.
How to ward off weather-related fires near homes
- Remove dead plants like bushes or weeds as soon as possible
- Clear pine needles and leaves from the roof and gutters
- Consider removing long grass, weeds or tree limbs that touch the building or hang nearby
- Keep lawns hydrated or cut short
- Remove flammable wood piles or propane tanks
- Do not light fireworks
How to avoid starting a brush fire
- Dispose of smoking materials in proper receptacles and douse them in water. Don’t throw cigarettes in planters or out vehicle windows
- Check to see if chains or other metal parts are dragging from vehicles, since they can create sparks.
- Keep tires inflated, since an exposed wheel rim can also cause sparks
- Be careful when parked or driving through dry grass: Exhaust pipes can also lead to fires.