JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Wildfire season is here and in full effect with the West Mims wildfire consuming 225 square miles along the Florida-Georgia border and expected to rage on for months.
The primary concern with Thursday's building westerly winds is the possibility the fire may jump the St. Marys River and prompt evacuations in western Nassau County. If you are worried about your home or the potential that you may need to evacuate, the US Fire Administration has outlined measures you can take to protect your home and how to plan for a potential evacuation.
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) is sharing key steps to staying safe during this dangerous season. Follow these tips to reduce your risk from wildfire.
Each of us can play a role in making our communities safer from wildfire. Your local fire department is the best place to start. Meet with firefighters to ask questions and get information.
- Make a plan. Find the best two evacuation routes from your home and from your community. Know how you will use them.
- Practice your plan with everyone in your family. If you have a pet, include a leash or carrier in your planning. Practice using both evacuation routes in case one is blocked by smoke or fire.
- Have a communications plan for your family members in case you aren’t together during an evacuation.
- Make an emergency bag. Put essential personal items in the bag so they’ll be ready to grab and go. Include your pet supplies.
- Know ahead of time how you will receive emergency information from officials in your community. In a wildfire, follow their evacuation instructions.
- Keep your roof, rain gutters, deck, and yard clean and green.
- Make a safety zone up to 100 feet around your home by clearing dry leaves, pine needles, branches, and other plant debris.
- Put anything that can burn, such as woodpiles, propane tanks, etc., at least 100 feet away from your home.
- Choose patio furniture and other outdoor items with fire safety in mind.
- Make sure your house number can be easily seen from the road.
Wildfire burned more than 5.5 million acres in the U.S. last year. Fire is everyone’s fight. Get involved in community activities to prepare and protect your neighborhood today.