CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Release) - Governor Mark Gordon has proclaimed that May is “Wildfire Awareness Month” in Wyoming. This proclamation encourages all citizens to observe and take steps to better prepare their communities and households from wildfires and coincides with the 2019 National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 4, 2019.
Wyoming is continuing to experience an increase in the number of human caused wildfires throughout the state, increasing wildfire risk to property, infrastructure, and communities. The wildland-urban interface (WUI) has also increased, elevating the need for continued wildfire preparedness and prevention efforts.
It is important to be aware of how to prevent a wildfire from starting and the common causes of human induced wildfires. Many human caused wildfires start from dragging chains on vehicles pulling trailers, burning debris, discarding cigarettes, and power equipment such as chainsaws and welding activities. Wildfires are also caused by natural disturbances such as lightning.
Wildfire management in Wyoming is an inter-agency effort with local, state, and federal agencies. Together, the agencies coordinate on wildfire safety and help create resilient Wyoming communities.
Wyoming State Forester, Bill Crapser says “Wyoming’s fire season is just beginning. There is still the opportunity for communities to prepare and take action to reduce wildfire risk. For example, homeowners can create and maintain defensible space to reduce the loss of property and life.” Crapser also says “Public and firefighter safety is of the utmost importance.”
The following are suggested actions to reduce wildfire risk –
Homeowners, particularly individuals within the WUI are encouraged to:
• create and maintain a 30-foot defensible space around homestead;
• consider using fire-resistant building materials;
Wyoming State Forestry Division 5/3/2019
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• clean roof and gutters;
• inspect and maintain a clean chimney; and
• establish an emergency preparedness plan, including potential evacuation routes.
Before enjoying Wyoming’s natural resources make sure to:
• check fire restrictions (https://wsfd.wyo.gov/fire-management/fire-restrictions);
• be aware of weather conditions, especially if a Red Flag Warning is in effect. This means that critical fire weather conditions will occur shortly or are occurring. Wildfires can grow drastically with strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures; • use caution when utilizing power tools such as chainsaws, and
• never have a campfire on Wyoming State Lands.