Photo by Faith Berry
As wildfires rage across the globe, we ask ourselves what can be done to help cities, homes, people and animals be safer during these events? The losses are heart wrenching. The pictures are horrifying. Wildfires occur across the globe and can increase in intensity anywhere, in the right set of conditions; hot temperatures, dried out vegetation, and high winds.
But we also see many people, neighborhoods, and cities coming together to create safer communities; firefighters, elected officials, land managing agencies, and residents all working together to be a part of the solution. Did you know that there is a lot that you can do long before a wildfire happens to protect yourself, your family your pets and your home? People of all ages can come together and complete property maintenance chores that are simple and don’t cost a lot of money but can provide huge benefits.
So what can we do?
- Help a senior neighbor or neighbor unable to do the work, with yard maintenance. This helps protect your property from damage if their home ignites. It will also make you feel good.
- Host a neighborhood clean-up day! Rent a large dumpster to dispose of those human treasures (plywood, furniture, yard ornaments etc.) around and next to everyone’s home and create safer, and more desirable neighborhoods to live in. You will make new friends and perhaps increase property values.
- Host a day to complete one project waiting for your attention. Get the neighbors together for a morning of work, with everyone doing their own thing at their own home; cleaning out gutters, cleaning up under decks, removing dead vegetation from around the home or liming up trees next to the house. Get together afterwards for a picnic and half day of fun to celebrate your success!
- Have lots of dead wood in your yards from storms? Organize your own “Dead Wood Gang”. Neighbors working together to clean up wood from property to property. Place branches butt ends facing the street in easy to manage piles, and chip them up as soon as possible. Just don’t put those wood chips in your landscaping next to the house or leave those piles hanging around long.
- Have someone that your community trusts and enjoys working with locally (from a local fire department or land managing agency etc.), help you “see” what maintenance projects you can do to your home and in the area surrounding your home. Make a list for each neighbor to complete at a later date, and do something nice for the agency person assisting you to show your appreciation. You are also helping to build a great relationship with an agency partner.
Be a part of making your home, neighborhood, and city safer. Dust off those gloves and put them to work. If nobody leads the way, be the hero in your neighborhood and help organize your neighbors to take action. For more information about projects you can do to make your home safer check out the Firewise USA® web-page.
Chipping at Bustin's Island photo by Faith Berry