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Wildfire Season is Now Every Season-Be Prepared

When I was working as a reporter for a La Junta radio station, I remember La Junta Fire Chief Brad Davidson telling me that every season is now wildfire season. It used to be thought of as a time when dry conditions, heat, and high winds meet up. But as Davidson continued on, he said even with a wet summer it just means that weeds and grass are able to become tinder come fall. Below is an article from SafeElectricity that just runs down some useful information that maybe you know, but maybe you don't know some of it. We hope it helps you prepare for what's ahead. Hopefully, we'll never need this information.

~Anne Boswell, SECPA Communications Coordinator. (

A wildfire burns south of Las Animas last year (Photo credit, Anne Boswell)

More than one million acres of U.S. woodland burn every year. The majority of wildfires – about 85 percent – are started by humans.

In some cases, a lightning strike can start a wildfire. Lightning strikes the earth more than 100,000 times a day, and 10 to 20 percent of lightning strikes can cause fire according to the U.S. National Park Service.

Safe Electricity offers the following safety tips from FEMA, Ready.Gov, and other organizations:

Preparing Now

· Gather emergency supplies, including N95-rated respirator masks. These masks filter out particles in the air you breathe. Keep in mind special needs of those in your household, including prescription medications. Don’t forget the needs of pets.

· Sign up for your community’s warning system. National organizations such as the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and NOAA Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.

· Know your community’s evacuation routes and scout out several different ways to leave your town or area. Drive the routes and become familiar with shelter locations. Have a plan for pets and livestock.

· Keep important documents in a fireproof safe.

· Review your insurance coverage to make sure it is adequate.

· Research and implement “defense zones” or defensible space to protect your home. Zone 1 is a 30-foot circle around your home that is free from leaves, debris and flammable materials.

· Trim branches that overhang the home, porch and deck and prune branches of large trees (depending on their height) at least 6 feet from the ground.

· Use fire-resistant materials when building, repairing or renovating your home.

During a Wildfire

· If authorities say to do so, evacuate immediately.

· If trapped, call 9-1-1 and give your location.

· Listen to alerts for emergency information and instructions.

After a Fire

· Do not return home until after authorities say it is safe to do so.

· Use caution when entering a home or building and avoid all standing water, which may have an electrical charge.

· Check all utilities and electrical components. If you see damage outside your home (downed power lines or damaged power or gas lines), vacate the area and call 9-1-1 to have the utility dispatched.

· If you detect electrical damage inside your home, hire a qualified electrician to assess your home.

· Check roofs and attics for hot spots or sparks and extinguish them immediately. Continue to check every few hours for at least 24 hours.

For more information about electrical safety, visit

Wildfire Facts

According to FEMA, a wildfire is an unplanned fire that burns in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland or prairie. They can burn beneath or above the forest floor.

Some burn up high on trees and spread from treetop to treetop, called a “crown fire.” Those known as “running” crown fires are even more dangerous because they burn extremely hot, can change direction, and if the wind is strong, they can spread quickly.


· Are most often caused by humans and sometimes by lightning.

· Can cause flooding or create problems with transportation, gas, power and communications.

· Can cause severe damage. Lean more about how to set up defense zones to protect your home.

· Can happen anywhere, anytime. Risk increases with little rain and high winds.

For more information about electrical safety, visit

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