The burning dry grass with opaque dense bluish smoke

File photo. Photo Credit: Blue Cat Studio (iStock).

Here are a few tips to help decrease fire risk this fall.

Practice Campfire Safety

Camping is a quintessential fall-time activity for many Coloradans and it is vitally important to be aware of and practice campfire safety to help prevent the start of wildfire. Smokeybear.com offers the following suggestions: 

  • Make sure no burn bans are in place before starting a fire
  • Never leave a campfire unattended 
  • Don't burn dangerous items like pressurized containers or aluminum cans 
  • Keep a bucket of water and a shovel close by 
  • To extinguish the fire, pour lots of water on it and stir it with a shovel. Make sure that it is cold before leaving the area. 

Leaves Disposal

Raking dead leaves and dry debris from your yard is a great way to remove flammable materials, but it is not helpful if you leave bags full of fire fuel in your garage or backyard.  Properly disposing of fallen leaves can contribute to fire prevention at your home. Here are a few ways to get rid of, or repurpose leaves: 

  • Set up a time for waste removal services to pick up the bags
  • Properly convert the leaves and debris into compost or mulch
  • Donate leaves to a local farm or homestead to convert into mulch 

Use Fire-safe Decorations

This time of year, many are already sprucing up their homes with various holiday decorations.

"Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer. Between 2015-2019, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 790 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees," according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Here area a few NFPA tips to keep in mind: 

  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets
  • Know how many strings of lights can be safely connected to prevent electrical fires (often found in manufacturer's instructions)
  • Don't overload electrical outlets 
  • Outdoor lights are not for indoor use 
  • Keep trees hydrated

Prepare a Fire Escape Plan 

House fires and wildfires are unpredictable and can affect anyone, so it is important to have an evacuation plan ready just in case. The plan should include: 

  • A household communication plan where everyone can confirm they are safe
  • A designated meeting place for household members away from the fire
  • A plan for evacuating pets and animals
  • A pre-packed 'escape kit' with essentials

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