Wildfire season: 7 ways you can help save lives and property

Homeowners living within a mile of forests or any fire-prone landscape – public or private, rural or urban – can take simple preventive steps to limit damage from wildfires. Here are seven ways to help your community become "fire adapted" and contain rising fire-control costs.

7. Use wildfire resources on the Web

David Crane/AP/Los Angeles Daily News
A helicopter makes a drop on a brush fire that broke out behind the Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park May 28, 2013, in Valencia, Calif.

National and state wildfire policies continue to evolve. In the past, authorities relied on suppressing fires. Today, they are more inclined to let smaller fires burn. These new pro-fire policies and “prescribed burns” are designed to avoid a buildup of flammable vegetation that results in less frequent but more intense fires.

For the latest information, visit websites including these. 

Fire Adapted Communities Coalition

• National Fire Protection Association

• Firewise Communities 

• International Association of Fire Chiefs’ “Ready, Set, Go!” program

Institute for Business & Home Safety

• "Wildfire, Wildland, and People: Understanding and Preparing for Wildfire," the US Forest Service's 2013 40-page report (pdf)

More states and communities now offer direct support to homeowners, such as providing free home fire-risk inspections and free or cost-shared clearing, chipping, and disposal of debris. The Maine Forest Service, for example, provides a free Defensible-Space Chipping Program brochure (pdf) to remove cleared materials. The US Forest Service provides a comprehensive database of state and local wildfire hazard mitigation programs (though it hasn’t been updated since January 2010 because of budget constraints).

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