Taking precautions are key as we enter wildfire season, Benton County FD #4 says

WEST RICHLAND, Wash. — As the weather gets warmer and we start to enter what officials call the wildfire season, the Benton County Fire District #4 in West Richland is asking the community to stay prepared.

“According to the U.S. Fire Administration, up to 45% of Washington state is wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas where developed land joins grasslands that are particularly prone to wildland fires,” a BCFD news release said.

That’s why taking precautions before the season begins is key and could be what saves you and your home in the case of a wildfire or other emergency.

“Preparing your house for being defensible and making it a bit easier for us makes the odds of your house surviving an incident much greater,” said BCFD #4 Fire Chief Paul Carlyle.

He recommends creating evacuation plans, moving outdoor furniture away from homes, and doing general landscaping maintenance.

“Since it’s been a wet spring, a lot of tall grasses are coming up, a lot of vegetation, and it’s really important to get that away from your house to help give that defensible space in case there’s a fire,” Chief Carlyle said. “Those that have a lot of vegetation around your house, we have to spend a lot of time getting them ready. Depending on the amount of manpower we have kind of impacts what we’re able to do.”

Last year, officials saw a 22% call volume increase. This year, it’s set to get even higher.

“We’re already on track this year that we’re going to exceed our call volume from last year,” Chief Carlyle said. “Prepping your house and making it the best it can be is really going to help us out as we move through this wild land season.”

For a full list of safety tips, click here.

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