At the start of the Arizona tourist season, firefighters have already found themselves battling a wildfire in a scenic recreation area between Sedona and Flagstaff. According to news reports, the Slide Fire has burned nearly 8 square miles and more than 3,000 residents in the area remain under pre-evacuation orders. Thankfully, there are no reports of injuries or structures burned. The Slide Fire comes less than year after the Yarnell Hill Fire took the lives of 19 firefighters in nearby Prescott.
Drought once again is being named as a contributing factor to the uptick in wildfire activity across Arizona and others states in the west. According to NIFC (National Interagency Fire Center), California, Oregon and Nevada are also experiencing above normal fire potential due to less than optimal weather and environmental conditions.
While firefighters continue to battle the blaze, NFPA reminds residents in Arizona and in other high-risk areas to prepare as much as possible ahead of time for wildfire. Research confirms that embers blowing in the wind from a grass, brush or forest fire can ignite flammable objects on or around the home. Embers can also blow into attic vents, open windows, under decks and into nooks and crannies on the roof. Firewise recommends that we reduce the risk of wildfire damage by focusing on our homes’ vulnerability to these flying embers and creating defensible space around our property.
How can we do that? There are a number of NFPA resources you can use to help you get started, including our Firewise Toolkit, which provides a great Homeowners Checklist that spells out action steps for creating this defensible space. Print it out and tack it to your fridge. It’s an easy way to keep wildfire safety top of mind during this summer season. You can also download our newest safety tips sheet and read more about defensible space on our Firewise website.
Remember ... take the time now to prepare. With a long wildfire season seemingly ahead of us, it's important to recognize that as residents we can make a difference. While we may not be able to prevent all wildfires, we can certainly work together to create safer places to live for all.
*Photo courtesy of NBC News