Homeowners can learn from the pros about wildfire prevention

Keep a close eye on lawnmowers and yard tools after use. They stay hot for at least an hour. Photo Frank Boston/Flickr/CC/Cropped
Keep a close eye on lawnmowers and yard tools after use. They stay hot for at least an hour. Photo Frank Boston/Flickr/CC/Cropped

Those who work day-in and day-out in the forest have plenty of know-how about taking extra precautions to prevent wildfires. With these dry days in Washington state, residents can take a page out of the professionals’ rulebook while performing yard work at home, too.

DNR currently has restrictions, called Industrial Fire Precaution Levels (IFPL), in place for people who work out in the woods, such as loggers or foresters, to help reduce the risk of wildfires. While these restrictions only apply to pros and their equipment, certain home yard tools, such as mowers, edgers, trimmers, saws and chainsaws, can also cause a spark that could start a fire in your yard, causing havoc in your neighborhood, or spread to any nearby wildland areas.

Instead, homeowners can apply these common-sense tips when using such tools at home.

  • Work in the mornings or late evenings to avoid the hottest parts of the day, and postpone your work when the weather calls for low humidity or high wind.
  • Keep a water hose or bucket or fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Use a nylon or plastic weed whacker line instead of metal.
  • Be careful not to set a hot tool down on dry grass or leaves.
  • Allow power engines to cool before refueling, and make sure the hot exhaust is kept away from dry grasses, weeds, and shrubs. Only use such equipment that’s in good repair and has spark arresters installed when applicable.
  • Stay home for an hour after finishing your work. This way you’d be around to notice if anything begins to smolder and smoke.

For more information on how to prevent wildfires, visit DNR’s Wildfire Preparedness webpage.

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