Summer Weather and Wildfire Hazards

Unless your home is surrounded year round by an icy landscape, then summer brings with it certain risks. Specially, fire hazards abound when the summer comes around, and this means that one of your biggest risks are going to be potential wildfires.

Why does summer weather increase the risks of wildfires?

1) Dry Vegetation

When the weather gets warmer, plants start to dry out from wetter months. Even if you still live in a fairly moist region, the plants in your area are still getting drier. Trees, shrubs and grass can get so dry that they become very good tinder for any little spark that might come their way.

2) Barbeques & Fire Pits

The summer is a very popular time to pull out the barbeque grill and have cookouts with your friends and family. It’s also a great time to pull out fire pits and roast marshmallows in the cool night air, or just to enjoy a group gathering around the fire. With the sun out and the weather warm, who wouldn’t want another excuse to be outside longer? The only problem with this, is that when you bring out barbeques and fire pits, that means you’re also bringing out items like matches, lighter fluid, coals, propane, dry wood or lighters. These items all increase the risk for a fire to get started in an uncontrolled area. It can happen even when the most responsible user is in control of the situation.

3) Fireworks

The 4th of July is just one such instance where people enjoy pulling out fireworks to celebrate history and to have some fun. Though as we all know, there are definitely risks to playing with fireworks, and they are often so unpredictable that in no time at all, they can spark a fire that can’t be put out before it takes over a whole area. Every year there are reports of fireworks getting caught in dry trees or landing in dry fields.

4) Drinking

There is just something about the warm weather that brings out the desire to drink more alcohol. With this desire, that means there will be more people abound that don’t have their wits about them, which is always a potential for disaster. When combined with any of the above issues – such as fire works or barbeques – drinking can take a safe situation and make it into a hazardous one very quickly. Even without extra reason to do so, many who drink can find themselves playing with fire for the fun of it, and this is where we often see reports of fires being started by someone who had too much to drink.

5) Camping

There are not many who enjoy going camping in the cold winter weather, which means that along with the warmth of summer, there is an increase in those that go camping. It is often a tradition and sometimes a necessity while camping, to start a fire in a pit. While this is usually easily controlled, there are many campers who don’t efficiently put their fires out before going to bed or leaving the camp site. Even fires that appear to be out, can easily be re-lit by heavy winds, which can carry sparks of even a redman’s fire over to some nearby tinder. This is the point in time when smokey the bear usually pops out and says “Only you can prevent forest fires!”.

6) Lightning Storms

Along with warm weather comes the higher potential for lightning storms, which have been found to be common culprits in the beginning of raging wildfires. Lightning can strike trees, grass, houses or other flammable items and easily start an unexpected blaze that rages on before anyone can get close to putting it out. Sadly, there are very few ways to prevent a wildfire that is started by a lightening storm. It’s just one of those natural disasters that mother nature can through out at any time in the warm summer weather.

As we are currently seeing from the blaze that overtook Arizona and near by states, Wildfires have the potential to eat up land, homes and resources very quickly. They can’t always be prevented, but the risks can be minimized by being as responsible as possible when working with anything fire related. Be responsible every summer, and you’ll be one step closer to ensuring you aren’t the reason a wildfire started up in your area.