Wildfires are raging across much of the U.S. fueled to some extent by drought. America is not the only nation with this problem. There are huge wildfires in Greece and Turkey. Wildfires destroy hundreds of thousands of acres and can be dangerous to people and to the places they live. The Dixie Fire in California just completely burned down the town of Greenville.
The Dixie Fire could threaten other towns and people. Currently, it has burned over 330,000 acres, which makes it the sixth-largest fire in California and the largest this year. According to The New York Times, people in the region will try to defend their homes. One told a reporter:
The small community of Crescent Mills was also threatened on Thursday. Ryan Kelly said he had stayed there hoping to defend his sister’s home, and during a phone interview, he described watching as helicopters dumped water over a nearby ridgeline to try to protect the tiny town.
In the face of such violent fires, is there anything homeowners can do? Probably not if a fire is spreading fast and driven by 40 MPH winds. However, people may have options, at least to prepare for wildfires near them.
Realtor.com has put together options for people who want to prepare for fires. The process is called fire mitigation. Wildfire expert Charlie Landsman, of the Wildfire Adapted Partnership, commented:
“The goal of fire mitigation is to alter how a fire burns throughout a property and to reduce the likelihood of that fire negatively impacting lives, structures, and even the forest.”
The first of these is to create an area around a home that could keep a fire from reaching structures. This is called “defensible space.” Among the suggestions for using this method are removing all fuel from the area, the clearing of low shrubbery, and trimming of low tree limbs. This space should be created in a circle that is at least 100 feet from a home.
The second suggestion is landscaping. Some trees and shrubs are hard to burn particularly if they tend to contain large amounts of moisture. Evergreen ground cover is another example. So are trees with deep roots.
Finally, it makes sense for neighbors to help one another. Things like planting fire resident trees and bushes work much better when they are done over larger areas than just one property.