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Avoiding Accidental Fires

What You Can Do: Follow Our Top Tips

Wildfires that are accidentally ignited by people often are close to where they live.

Many wildfires are ignited accidentally by people. These fires often occur in places close to where people live and recreate and under conditions which make them difficult to control.

Places such as Southern California, where a certain amount of fire is needed to help plants regenerate, are experiencing too-frequent fires that are often started either accidentally or intentionally by people. These fires can be damaging for both people and nature.

So, next time you’re out and about in a fire-prone area, follow these top tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

  • Be prepared and know your area:
    • Check with local or federal agencies for any fire or travel restrictions.
    • Notice weather conditions — hot, windy conditions increase the chance of forest fires.
  • Follow all rules about debris burning, campfires, smoking and fireworks:
    • Select your campsite wisely — ask authorities about closures or restrictions and use existing campsites when possible or establish fire rings and clear 10 feet around the campfire.
    • Make sure your campfire is “dead out” (use water and dirt) and make sure the fire site is cold.
    • Be careful with matches, lighters and cigarettes.
    • Check with local officials on laws and regulations with regards to debris burning and fireworks.
  • Know how your vehicles can impact the landscape:
    • Be careful of parking or driving your car or ATV in tall, dry grass. The hot underside of the vehicle may start a fire.
    • If off road vehicle use is allowed, your vehicle will require a spark arrester. 

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