Worried about a wildfire approaching your home this summer? There’s an app for that.
Cal Fire’s smartphone app, Ready for Wildfire, provides alerts to residents whenever state firefighters respond to a significant blaze in a designated ZIP code or within 30 miles of the phone’s location.
“It allows us to reach people faster,” said Heather Williams, a Cal Fire spokeswoman. “We’re really excited about it.”
Cal Fire posts fire information on Facebook and Twitter, but the app “reaches people wherever they are,” she said.
The app, which has been downloaded more than 23,000 times, also gives residents step-by-step checklists for maintaining defensible space around their homes, as well as hardening homes with fire-resistant materials, creating evacuation plans and preparing an emergency supply kit.
It also offers updates on current wildfires throughout the state, including acreage burned and percentage of containment, and a map of current fires.
Fire seasons are getting longer and hotter, with an uptick in large, damaging fires, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said in a statement.
“We need all Californians to prepare for wildfires, and this year we have a new tool to help,” he said.
To download the app, go to www.readyforwildfire.org or go to the App Store or Google Play Store and search for Cal Fire.
You can reach Staff Writer Guy Kovner at 707-521-5457 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @guykovner.
Protecting your home
Firefighters advise creating at least 100 feet of defensible space around structures.
Within the first 30 feet extending out from buildings:
- Remove all dead vegetation.
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
- Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Relocate wood piles outside 30-foot buffer zone.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.
- When clearing vegetation, use care when operating equipment such as lawnmowers. One small spark may start a fire; a string trimmer is safer
See more at: www.readyforwildfire.org
SOURCE: Cal Fire