How to prepare for wildfires

In 2020, 75 people lost their lives in the United States due to devastating wildfires Approximately 90 percent of wildfires in the United States are started by people. The remaining 10 percent were started naturally, by either lightning or lava. Approximately 4.5 million U.S. homes were identified at high to extreme risk of wildfire with nearly half of those homes in California alone.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were about 57,000 wildfires in 2019. In 2020, there were more than 10.3 million acres burned by wildfires. Five of the top 20 largest wildfires in 2020 were in California, killing 31 people. There were also large fires burning in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Montana, and Utah. Several evacuations resulted from wildfires. Most of these fires were fueled by drought conditions.

Every year around the globe, individuals and families evacuate their homes to escape wildfires. Unfortunately, too many people return to their scorched homes and neighborhoods to discover that they have lost everything. Firefighters who pledge to protect life and property have also lost their own lives trying to help others.

August 18, 2020 snapshot of U.S. west coast fires from

You and your family can do your part in this battle against annual wildfires.

What things can I do to prevent wildfires?

  • Educate yourself and teach your children about fire safety.

  • Be sure you have a ready water source that can reach every part of your property.

  • Rake leaves, dead limbs, and clear out flammable vegetation.

  • Remove leaves and rubbish from under your house and other structures.

  • Make sure there is a 15-foot space between tree crowns.

  • Cut off any tree limbs within 15 feet off the ground.

Often, wildfires begin with hardly a notice. They may have been triggered by lightning, accidents, or by human error. They can spread quickly, threatening property and lives.