This week’s wild weather is a great reminder that fire danger is always present, even when rain is blowing sideways.
We need to be vigilant and do all we can to make our homes safe as we roll into wildfire season. Mother Nature can still find a way to create flames, as she did with a lightning strike at a South Richland home earlier this week, but we don’t need to make it easy for her to wreak further havoc this summer.
Take a hike up Candy Mountain or just glance up at Badger Mountain and you can see how quickly we went from a long, hard moisture-filled winter to tinder-dry conditions. Despite the drenching we got this week, temperatures in the 90s will quickly erase the dampness.
With the Fourth of July just around the corner, we all need to take a look around our properties and look for ways to mitigate the fire danger. Keep you lawns watered — we can thank the winter for an abundant water supply — and don’t stack up piles of dried weeds or lawn debris anywhere near a structure.
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Have a hose handy just in case, obey your area’s fireworks restrictions and use some common sense.
We all love the pageantry of fireworks as we celebrate our patriotism, but there are also real dangers that come from their use. Fire and injury, among them. We’ve seen houses and hillsides burn, and celebrators and first responders injured and even killed in our community as a result of fireworks gone bad.
A lot of us are cleaning up our yards this time of year and a fire is a good way to get rid of piles of debris. But we just saw how, on a burn banning day, a fire got away from a property owner in Pasco and ended up damaging nearby homes. Again, pay attention to the restrictions on burn days. There really are good reasons for them. Heat and wind are a bad combination.
Summer is also a time many of us head to the hills and lakes for camping trips. Check the website for the state or federal lands that will be your destination or call ahead if you’re staying in an improved campground to find out the rules. A campfire is a fun part of the experience, but you don’t want to be responsible for a forest fire for the sake of a s’more.
Most of all, we’re just asking you all to be safe and responsible. As we saw this week, fire can strike through no fault. Many wildfires are the work of Mother Nature, but many are the result of human error as well.
With fireworks going on sale this week, Tri-Citians need to be even more careful. Personal fireworks are illegal in Kennewick, Pasco and Franklin County, and aerial fireworks are illegal in Richland.
However, Richland does allow ground fireworks. Earlier this year, Richland’s code enforcement board wanted the City Council to consider banning all personal fireworks, but that proposal appears to have fizzled out in time for this year’s Fourth of July celebration.
While we can’t do anything to prevent lightning strikes, we can be smart about how and where we light off personal fireworks and burn yard waste. Be safe and use good judgment.