National Fire Prevention Week is always observed during the week of October 9 to coincide with the Great Chicago Fire that started on October 8, 1871, causing widespread destruction, death and homelessness.
National Fire Prevention Week is set aside for firefighters to provide fire and life safety education to the public to lessen the casualties and devastating destruction caused by fires.
While National Fire Prevention Week focuses primarily on home fire safety, we also want to take the opportunity to bring attention to wildfire. We want to bring awareness to the reality of wildfire to Mississippians.Russell Bozeman, MFC State Forester
Many believe that wildfires only occur in the western U.S. because of the high visibility in the media. However, the Southeast has more wildfires start than any other region in the country. Statistics show that over half of all wildfires in the U.S. occur in the Southeast. In fact, North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia are the top three states, respectively, for acres in the wildland-urban interface, with California ranking fourth.
Mississippi experiences wildfires year-round, but the state does see an increase between October and December. This is contributed to the fall usually being dry, and early frost and annual leaf fall add an abundance of new fuel to the ground that feeds fire.
“We are at the beginning of Mississippi’s fall fire season,” Bozeman said. “Now is the time to take steps to protect your home and property from a potential wildfire.”
Is your home Firewise™?
The MFC offers the Firewise™ program to homeowners and community leaders in order to share information and resources. The Firewise™ program equips homeowners and communities with the information they need to help design, construct, landscape and maintain homes and communities to better withstand wildfires.
Here are a few easy tips to start making your home Firewise™.
- Create and maintain at least 30 feet of defensible space around your home.
- Remove hazards such as wood piles or other flammable materials from near your home.
- Prune low hanging limbs to six to 10 feet from the ground.
- Reduce the amount of fuel that could bring a wildfire into your home by cleaning rooves and gutters.
“The Mississippi Forestry Commission wants all Mississippians to have the information and resources they need to protect their lives, homes and property from catastrophic wildfires,” said Bozeman. “Make sure your home is Firewise™ by following the simple tips we offer.”
Click here for information about the Mississippi Firewise™ program.