JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Governor Haley Barbour issued a statewide burn ban on Wednesday. In response, MEMA issued tips to help protect yourself, your family, and your home, and on how you can be proactive in wildfire prevention.
1. Learn and teach safe fire practices:
- Always have a way to extinguish the fire quickly and completely.
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and near sleeping areas.
- Never leave a fire, even a cigarette, burning unattended.
2. Always be ready for an emergency evacuation:
- Evacuation may be the only way to protect your family in a wildfire.
- Know where to go and what to bring with you.
- You should plan several escape routes in case roads are blocked by a wildfire.
3. Create safety zones around your home:
- All vegetation is fuel for a wildfire, though some trees and shrubs are more flammable than others.
- To reduce the risk, you will need to modify or eliminate brush, trees and other vegetation near your home.
- The greater the distance is between your home and the vegetation, the greater the protection.
4. Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house. Keep the volume of vegetation in this zone to a minimum. If you live on a hill, extend the zone on the downhill side. Fire spreads rapidly uphill. The steeper the slope, the more open space you will need to protect your home. In this zone, you should also do the following:
- Remove vines from the walls of the house.
- Move shrubs and other landscaping away from the sides of the house.
- Remove tree limbs within 15 feet of the ground.
- Replace vegetation that has living or dead branches from the ground-level up, these act as ladder fuels for the approaching fire.
- Cut the lawn often keeping the grass at a maximum of two inches.
- Watch grass and other vegetation near the driveway, a source of ignition from automobile exhaust systems.
- Clear the area of leaves, brush, evergreen cones, dead limbs and fallen trees.
4. Clear all combustibles within 30 feet of any structure:
- Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
- Avoid using bark and wood chip mulch stack firewood 100 feet away and uphill from any structure.
- Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers and keep them away from the house.
- Keep the gas grill and propane tank at least 15 feet from any structure.
- Clear an area 15 feet around the grill.
- Always use the grill cautiously but refrain from using it all during high risk times.
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