Although we recently covered the topic of fires in Vancouver, WA, the wildfires across the entire state of Washington are so severe, we felt it was wise to write even more about fire prevention.

The fires in Washington are so bad that the state has deployed soldiers to assist, the first time military has been called on to serve as firefighters since 2006. Additionally, after a tragic fire led to the loss of three firefighters and 200 homes, fire chiefs from Australia are being flown in to help temper the flames.

It’s unsettling for many Washington residents and homeowners to see their state in flames. According to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), 85% of wildfires in the state are human-caused, and embers can travel more than a mile. This is why it’s so important that we do our part to prevent additional fires from sparking.

As you are likely aware, there is a statewide ban on fires throughout campgrounds in the state of Washington. However, there are additional steps you can take to prevent fires. Ensuring that any recreational vehicles you own have operating spark arrestors. The DNR also recommends not parking vehicles in dry, grassy areas as “residual heat from exhaust systems can ignite dry grass.” Another obvious, but important step is to avoid the use of fireworks.

Additionally, the City of Vancouver Fire Department has the following fire prevention steps listed on their website:

  1. Actively & regularly educate your tenants about the prevention of fires through handouts, meetings, and signs.
  2. Maintain portable fire extinguishers, automatic fire protection systems, exit signs, & emergency escape lighting.
  3. Encourage or require renter’s insurance where possible.
  4. Contact us if you need assistance.

Here is a helpful handout form the Fire Prevention Partners of Clark County on Fire Safety Tips for Multi-Family Housing. Included in the handout is the contact information for multiple firefighter offices and resources should you have any questions.

Last but not least, don’t forget to review these tips from The Columbian to protect properties from brush fires.

  • Keep grass watered and mowed. If it’s brown, mow it short to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are wildfire fuel.
  • Keep a clearing of at least 30 feet around your house, and keep a thin and trimmed zone of reduced brush beyond the 30-foot zone.
  • Clear leaves and debris from roofs, gutters, porches and decks to prevent embers from igniting your home.
  • Remove dead vegetation and other items from under porches and decks and within 10 feet of the house.
  • To prevent combustible material from accumulating, screen in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh.
  • Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Clean up lawn cuttings and yard debris quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Replace or repair missing or loose roof shingles to prevent embers from penetrating them.
  • To prevent sparks from entering the home, cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8-inch wide.
  • Enclose eaves and screen soffit vents using 1/8-inch metal mesh screening to prevent ember entry.

We wish you a fire-free end of the summer! Stay safe and be smart.