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Summer Threat: Fire Prevention and Safety

Photo taken at Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association headquarters in Idaho

May is designated as Wildfire Awareness Month, and the risk of fires increases as we head into the summer season and warmer temperatures. Always check for fire restrictions in the area and take note that many areas have fire constraints during the dry season or when the fire risk is high.  Avoid using flammable materials, such as fireworks or charcoal grills, during these times.

Here are some helpful tips to prevent fires on your recreational land:

Prep for House or Structures on Your Land

  • Remove all dead vegetation, leaves, and debris from the area around your home, including gutters, eaves, and roofs. Keep this area clean and clear throughout the fire season.
  • Remove flammable materials, such as dry grass, brush, and trees, within 30 feet of your home. This cleared area creates a buffer zone that can help slow the spread of a wildfire and reduce the risk of damage to your home.
  • Trim tree branches that are close to or touching your home and remove dead or dying trees on your property. Limb trees to remove the “Ladder Fuels” that could lift a fire into the tree canopy.   The recommendation is to limb the bottom 6-10 feet of trees, or the bottom 1/3 of small trees, in the vicinity of your house and out into the yard.  Doing this can prevent fires from spreading to your home through contact with trees.
  • Install “hardscapes” such as rock walls, driveways, and unvegetated areas to break up the continuous layer of ground fuels.
  • Use small rocks instead of wood mulch in landscaped areas around the house can provide a similar aesthetic but a more fire-protective barrier.
  • Store flammable materials such as gasoline, propane, and other fuels in approved safety containers away from your home.


  • Only use fire rings or pits designed to contain campfires and minimize the risk of them spreading.
  • Keep the fire small and manageable. Don’t use large logs or branches, and never leave the fire unattended.
  • Always have a bucket of water and a shovel nearby to help extinguish the fire if it starts to get out of control.
  • When you are finished with your fire, make sure it is completely extinguished. Douse the fire with water, stir the ashes, and douse it again until it is cool to the touch.

Debris Burning

  • Be sure to check local regulations to see if it is allowed. If allowed in your area, a permit may be required.
  • Don’t burn when it’s windy or when vegetation is very dry.
  • Check local ordinances on what you can burn. Typically, you can burn dry, natural vegetation grown on the property.  Household trash, plastic, and tires are not good to burn and are often illegal.
  • Keep your burn pile manageable and small.
  • Make sure your burning site is located away from overhanging limbs, powerlines, buildings, vehicles, and equipment. You will need more than three times the height of your pile of vertical clearance.
  • The burning site should be surrounded by dirt or gravel at least 10 feet around in all directions. Keep this area watered down during the burning.

Have an Emergency Plan

You should develop an emergency plan with your family in case of a fire, including evacuation routes and meeting places. Stay informed about fire conditions in your area and be prepared to evacuate if necessary. By taking these steps to prepare your land for fire season, you can help protect your property and ensure your safety in the event of a fire.

Visit Idaho Firewise and Firewise-USA for more helpful tips.

Reach out to a PotlatchDeltic Preferred Broker Network expert for assistance in finding your ideal property to elevate your outdoor enjoyment. By following these fire prevention and safety tips and those recommended in your area, you’re actively taking measures to help optimize your property’s potential and promote a prepared and enjoyable season.

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