Preparing Your Home For Wildfire

When we think about wildfires we tend to think about the east side of Washington and not the west side. However, the west side is becoming dryer with each passing summer. The combination of dense forests, dryer weather, growing population and housing developments built up against wildland areas, increases the threat for wildfires – making it a real risk for those of us on the west side.

Between 2017-2019, Graham Fire & Rescue responded to 165 wildland, brush, grass and/or ground cover related fires. In 2020, Graham Fire & Rescue experienced it’s largest wildfire, the 244th Command Fire, which burned over 275 acres, destroyed 5 homes and 10 outbuildings. The fire forced roughly 100 individuals to evacuate their homes in the middle of the night, and restricted those living within the fire area from returning to their homes for a number of days.

Please review to the resources below to help you and your family prepare for wildfire, and any emergency that may require evacuation. For more information about disaster preparedness please visit our Disaster Preparedness page.

How can you protect your home or property during wildfire season? Maintain a defensible space.

Defensible space is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs or another wildland area that surround it. This buffer helps slow or in some cases even stops the spread of wildfire, protecting your home from catching fire.

Click here to learn more about defensible space zones.

Keep these tips in mind to help prevent wildfires:

  • Never leave a fire unattended and fully extinguish before leaving or falling asleep.
  • Fully extinguish matches, cigarettes before disposing.
  • Follow local ordinances (burn permit guidelines, burn bans, etc.) when burning yard waste.
  • Avoid backyard burning in windy conditions.
  • Always keep a shovel, water, and/or fire retardant nearby when burning.

Prepare your family by creating a wildfire action plan.

1. Have a “go bag” ready

This should include a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and water, prescriptions, change of clothing, credit cards/cash, first aid kit, flashlight, battery-powered radio and extra batteries, sanitation supplies, important documents, and pet food and water (if applicable).

2. Designate a meeting location outside the fire/hazard area

Keep in mind that your family may not be together when disaster strikes. Pick a location that is easy for all family members to get to.

3. Establish a communication plan

Communication systems in the disaster area may become overloaded, designate an out-of-area family member or friend as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication that all family members can check in with.

Click here to learn more about wildfire action plans.

Want more information about Wildfires in Washington State? Watch this 45 minute documentary about the future of wildfire in Washington and what you can do to help prevent them.