Now that summer is upon us, we all want to do our part to keep our homes and properties safer in the event of a wildfire but it is so important to act carefully, taking the necessary precautions not to be the cause of a wildfire while trying to do the right thing. Operating equipment like chainsaws, lawn mowers, and tractors improperly can cause sparks that could ignite a wildfire. We need to act with care to make sure that we are doing the right thing the right way. A CAL FIRE flyer stated that over 1,600 wildfires are caused in California alone using equipment the wrong way. You don't want to be the cause of a wildfire by using a mower improperly, like the Golden Gates Estate fire in Florida, or the 22 million dollar Oregon wildfire.
Picture submitted for Wildfire Prep Day activity by Debora Rice from North Fork, California
Here are some important tractor use and mowing tips to help you do the right thing the right way: (Remember metal blades hitting rocks can spark a wildfire)
- Mow during the cool time of day generally while there is still dew on the ground, not during the day and especially not when the wind is blowing.
- Don’t top off fuel tanks.
- Make sure spark arrestors are in proper working order and there is no carbon build up.
- Keep a shovel and water source or fire extinguisher close by at all times.
- When transporting tractors, mowers and recreational vehicles make sure that chains on the trailers are not hitting the pavement as you are driving, throwing sparks.
- Take special care when using mowers and tractors in dry grass that can easily ignite.
- Remove rocks and metal from the yard that could be hit by the mower and cause sparks.
- Keep a cell phone with you and dial 911 in the event of an emergency.
The US Forest Service (with their One Less Spark One Less Wildfire Campaign) along with Betty White created a cute YouTube video that reinforces how you can be more careful as you act responsibly this year while you work and play outside.