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Unfortunately, in the face of climate change, forest fires happen more frequently than ever and are increasingly destructive to infrastructure, property, precious wildlife, and countless species of trees and plant life. Here are seven ideas for how you can help prevent forest fires.

  1. Be aware of any local or statewide restrictions on grilling or campfires. During seasons of drought, government officials will announce restrictions on open fires. Be sure to check these warnings before building a fire, no matter the size.
  2. If you do light a fire in the woods somewhere, be sure it is completely extinguished before you leave the area. There should be no red coals or sparks coming from your fire. This can be done by smothering the fire with sand or dirt, and by pouring water over the fire to completely extinguish it.
  3. Monitor your garden and lawn to ensure that they are not masses of dead, flammable vegetation. Dead vegetation is one of the most flammable materials. Also, creating a defensible space around your house, where no plants are growing, can help protect your home from any fires that do break out.
  4. Ensure you dispose of any smoking materials safely, making sure that the flame is completely extinguished prior to disposal. 
  5. If you are going to light candles, be sure to keep a careful watch on them. Especially when candles burn low, they might spark and cause items nearby to catch fire. Never leave a room when a candle is burning, and again, be sure they are fully extinguished before you do.
  6. Get creative! Many plants, such as oak trees and manzanita have fire-retardant qualities that can help slow or contain forest fires once they have sparked. Try planting fire-retardant plants suitable for your local climate in your yard.
  7. Lastly, do not, under any circumstances, set off fireworks. The sparks from these can trigger forest fires, especially if they land in dry vegetation or on other flammable material.

Fire-retardant California Coastal Oak tree