SPOKANE, Wash. - It's potentially record-breaking temperatures, wind and a lack of rain that has firefighters on high alert as we creep into triple digits this week. Spokane experienced one very wet spring and it took a little longer for the area to dry out. Spokane Fire District 8 says we are there now, though.
Captain Jeff Wainwright with Spokane Fire District 8 says, “it does not take a lot right now for a fire to start and then move fairly rapidly.”
In the last week, we've seen several wildfires start right along our highways. While we can't control things like wind and landscapes that allow these fires to spread; we can take steps to help stop things that cause them.
“Vehicle maintenance is important. One of those fires along the highway was actually caused by a muffler,” Captain Wainwright explains
Exhaust systems in newer cars burn hotter than they used to in the 60s and 70s.
“Those things, when they come apart, due to a malfunction or lack of maintenance, they will start a fire,” he adds.
Even the flicking of a cigarette butt out of your car window can cause millions of dollars worth of damage.
Wild fires don't just start along the road though, they can begin in your own yard.
Fire district 8 recommends making sure equipment like lawnmowers and weed whackers are functioning properly
“The blade can strike a rock and that strike alone can cause a fires. We always talk about defensible space around your house and removing shrubbery from around your house that's either touching it or very close to it,” he shares.
Keeping your lawn watered and healthy in addition to removing wood from around your house helps as well.
Captain Wainwright adds that if it doesn't need to happen this time of year, don't do it.
He shares, “I have to cut some firewood. I'm not going to do that until we get some rain and the humidity levels start coming up and we get some humidity recovery at night. Its just not worth it to go out and do that if you don't have to.”
Fire District 8 says they've been getting a number of calls from folks concerned about illegal burning.
Captain Wainwright says citizens can visit any local firehouse to learn more about what items are OK to use during this burn ban.
Head to www.spokanecleanair.org/current-burning-conditions for photos of what devices to avoid and invest in during these very warm and dry months.
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