Monday, June 01, 2020
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Blazes! It’s that time of year again

| May 17, 2020 1:00 AM

Here comes fire season.

The annual conflagration preparation is in motion. As so often happens in life, we try to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Statistically speaking, at least, fire season has been relatively kind to us North Idahoans.

As Jennifer Passaro’s fire season preview notes in today’s paper, Kootenai County has the lowest wildfire risk in the entire state (see wildfirerisk.org). But that doesn’t mean we should be any less vigilant or cautious.

According to wildfirerisk.org, nine out of every 10 wildfires in the U.S. are caused by humans. Humans’ chief co-culprits include:

• campfires left unattended

• debris burning

• hot ashes and barbecue coals

• vehicles or equipment that throw sparks

In our backyard, raging forest fires wreaking widespread destruction are less a threat than fires in urban interface areas, where homes and Mother Nature share adjoining spaces and natural resources. The home ignition zone, as it’s referred to, can be made much safer by reducing vegetation and using fire-resistant materials around the home.

If you live in an urban interface area, you should have an evacuation plan that’s fully understood by all family members.

The website wildfirerisk.org has plenty of helpful tips for both short-range and long-term planning. Meantime, please do your all to be fire conscious this spring and summer. Breathing smoke from blazes elsewhere is bad enough. We don’t need to add to our respiratory concerns during a pandemic.