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Wildfire Awareness Month starts May 1

Each year, catastrophic wildfires threaten many Washington homes, businesses and open lands, but residents can take steps to protect themselves and their communities.

This year, the governors of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and California have joined together to proclaim May as Wildfire Awareness Month. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources urges all Washington residents to consider actions they can take to prevent wildfires and help their communities become better prepared when wildfires do occur.

As more and more people live in and around forests, grasslands, shrub lands, and other natural areas – places referred to the wildland-urban interface – the fire-related challenges of managing wildlands are on the increase. This year, the department is asking the question, ‘Is your community prepared for wildfire?”

If designing or updating a home’s landscape, think of ways to incorporate firebreaks (things that don’t burn) into the landscape design. Defensible space doesn’t have to be an eyesore. Some examples of firebreaks are: concrete, brick or gravel walkways, concrete flower box borders or planters, and water features, such as a pond. Even the backyard swimming pool can serve as a firebreak.

We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and each other from the risk of wildfire. To save lives and property from wildfire, the Firewise Communities® Program (www.firewise.org) teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to take action now to prevent losses.

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