May is Wildfire Awareness Month. We've had several, so far in the Tri-Cities area.

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On Sunday, multiple agencies assisted Hanford Fire and Patrol in a large natural cover fire on the Hanford Reservation. There was also a fire near Zintel Canyon, which destroyed a home and damaged 3 others.

According to a release from the Washington State Fire Marshal's Office, in 2022, fire agencies responded to 6,536 natural vegetation fires, resulting in a loss of more than $3.2 million.

How can you protect your home from wildfire?

Having a Wildfire Action Plan is encouraged should you need to suddenly evacuate. There are several things you can do to reduce the threat of wildfire on your property.

· Clear fallen leaves, pine needles, branches, and other debris from roof valleys and gutters. Remember to use extra caution when working on ladders whenever accessing your roof or gutters.

· Remove any flammable materials on the ground around your home, deck, porch, or patio out to a minimum of 5 feet. This includes any mulch, dead leaves or pine needles, shrubs or other plants and materials for construction projects. Wood piles should be kept at a minimum of 30 feet from your home or other structures.

· Make sure trees are limbed at least 10 feet up to reduce the likelihood of a fire getting into the tops of trees.

· Plants that are within 30 feet of your home should be well-watered and spaced to avoid fire moving from plant to plant.

· Grass and weeds should be mowed to a height no more than 2 to 3 inches.

· Keep all vegetation, including grass hydrated.

· Whenever possible, use fire-resistant materials for any home improvement projects.

· Attic and garage vents should be screened with 1/8-inch metal mesh material, or a fire resistive vent design should be used, to prevent ember penetration during the windy conditions of a wildfire.

· Prepare your community by working with your neighbors. Remember, ignition of one home within a neighborhood will threaten other homes so encourage all neighbors within wildfire risk areas to work together to reduce the community risk.

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