The question “can drought cause fires?” has recently generated considerable search traffic. This fact should be no surprise, as many areas of the United States are contending with ongoing droughts.
Continuing our seasonal guide on safety and fire prevention, we’ll outline several ways to ensure that you remain safe during droughts and prevent the risk of drought-related fires. Before that, however, let’s answer the burning question: Can drought cause fires?
Can Drought Cause Fires?
The answer is not simple. Droughts cannot directly cause fires. However, droughts can increase the likelihood of wildfires and localized fires. This increase in risk is because of the combustible nature of greenery like dry brush, grass, and weeds.
So, what’s the final answer? As it turns out, the answer is yes and no (but not directly). Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce the risk of a fire in your area:
How to Reduce the Risk of Drought-Related Fires
If you want to reduce your risk of experiencing a fire or fire-related damage during drought season, we suggest that you:
1. Watch Your Grills Closely
If you are one of the millions of Americans that like firing up the BBQ when the weather is nice, you can still do so during drought season. However, you will need to keep an extra close eye on your grill during this time. Sparks and hot debris from your grill could accidentally spark a significant fire, especially near dry vegetation.
To be safe, put your grill in an open brick or concrete patio area. If possible, use a propane grill as this material is less likely to produce hazards like hot debris or ash.
2. Avoid Parking Vehicles Over Dry Weeds, Leaves, or Grass
Did you know parking over dry weeds, leaves, or grass can cause a fire during drought season? During plentiful rainfall, weeds and grass remain moist enough to resist the heat that emanates from your vehicle. However, arid vegetation could possibly catch on fire.
If possible, park in paved areas for your safety. If you have to park in the grass, ensure that your yard is well-maintained. You must rake up any leaves or organic debris to avoid potential fires.
3. Keep Lawns and Greenery Trimmed
Ensure you do not let your lawn become overgrown, especially the grass immediately next to your house. Overgrown grass near your home could lead to a house fire if the vegetation ignites during drought season.
Trim them back if you have hedges, plants, or trees near your home. Cut away any dead branches and vines as soon as you notice them.
4. Minimize Burning and Adhere to Burn Bans
If you need to burn yard waste or other non-hazardous trash, do so in small segments. Keep your burn piles manageable and monitor them to ensure they do not get out of control.
If your city or county has instituted a burn ban, you must follow it. These bans help keep you and your environment safe. Instead of burning yard waste during a ban, contact your municipal waste disposal company to see if they have a drop-off location.
5. Check Lawn Equipment for Proper Function
Modern lawn mowers and other lawn equipment often have spark arrestors; a device meant to prevent the sparks created by your equipment from causing a fire. If your equipment has spark arrestors, ensure that they are functioning correctly.
If your equipment does not have these devices, be extra careful when starting them. You should also consider installing spark arrestors or upgrading to safer lawn equipment with modern fire prevention features.
Stay Safe During Dry Seasons
That rounds out our list of five tips for the drought season. If you would like to learn more about how you can prepare, explore our other blogs and educational resources. If you want to equip your home with fire sprinkles to protect you from the dangers of fires, contact the team at A&A Fire Protection today.