On July 13th, a devastating fire called The Moccasin Hill Fire broke out about 25 miles from my home. I know that I recently wrote an article about Protecting Your Home From Wildfires but considering the extreme fire hazards that we’re currently facing, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to tell you the story of Moccasin Hill.
At approximately 2:00 PM on Sunday July 13th, a fire was reported in a forested subdivision that was just a few miles north of the small town of Sprague River, Oregon. The fire made a quick run up to about 75 acres and within about an hour or so, it had grown to nearly 500 acres. By sundown, the flames had consumed roughly 1,000 acres and by sundown the next day, 2,535 acres had been destroyed.
The reason I’m telling you this story is to drive home just how fast a wildfire can spread under the right conditions. This fire burned ferociously and ultimately ended up destroying 35 structures. Many of which were people’s homes. The cause of the fire hasn’t been released to the public yet but they have reported that as of July 19th, the fire has cost approximately 3.1 million dollars to fight. Fire officials were able to contain the fire within a week which we are very grateful for but nothing can make up for the losses that several families are dealing with. They’ve lost their homes, there family keepsakes, and their beautiful forest living lifestyle.
The Point is That it CAN Happen To You
If you live in a rural area that is susceptible to wildfires, there is a very real possibility that at some point in time, it just might be you who is being evacuated from your home. The following are some basic tips to help prevent wildfires that we should all keep in mind.
- Follow all official fire restrictions for your area. If you don’t know what the current fire restrictions are, call you local fire department.
- Be careful when using power equipment. Things like chainsaws, welders, grinders, and even lawn mowers can start a fire if the conditions are right for it.
- Don’t drive your vehicle over tall dry grass. The exhaust system on your car or truck can start a fire if you drive over tall dry grass.
- Ditch the fireworks. I know they’re fun to watch but they don’t have any place in an area that is susceptible to fires.
- Be careful while barbecuing. If barbecuing is allowed where you live, be very careful and never leave the BBQ grill unattended. It would probably be a good idea to have a water hose handy as well just in case.
- Report violations! I’m sure you don’t want to be a nosy neighbor but it’s really in everyone’s best interest if we all keep an eye out for neighbors who might be doing something that could cause a wildfire.
- Watch for smoke. If you see smoke, don’t just assume that everything is okay or that someone else probably already reported it. Call 911 and report it immediately! Your quick response in reporting a fire could be the difference between a 1 acre fire and a 1,000 acre fire.
These are just a few tips that you can use to help prevent forest, grass, and brush fires. We all have to take proactive steps and act responsibly as we do our part to help prevent wildfires.