With just the right conditions, wildfire can become a threat in areas we may not normally think about as fire-prone regions. Following on severe drought, warm temperatures and high winds in late fall of 2016 that caused significant fire spread and home destruction in the Southeast, this week the Plains states of Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado as well as much of Texas and parts of Florida are all seeing significant wildfire activity. Sadly, these wind-driven fires have also caused the deaths of a reported 7 individuals, several of whom were attempting to save and protect livestock from the flames and embers. At NFPA, our hearts go out to their family and friends, and to those of several firefighters who have been injured responding to these events.
The magnitude of the Kansas wildfires has veteran fire officials using the word "unprecedented." Sarah Wood, the fire data manager with the Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office, has posted information from the local news outlets about the fire conditions on her LinkedIn Page. Based on these conditions, Wood says, "Residents will need to be fiercely vigilant."
If your area is under a red flag warning - meaning that there is a high potential for fire - what should you be doing to prepare? Download our tipsheet (attached) and find out more by reviewing the Firewise Toolkit online. For folks who own horses, we have a preparedness booklet for you, too, to prepare you to evacuate your animals. It's not too late to prepare for wildfire and potentially save homes and lives.