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Preventing urban brush fires – Fire Line

Brush fire caused by fireworks (2018)

In June, the Seattle Fire Department responded to 27 bark and brush-related fires. There were 74 bark and brush-related fire responses in June 2021. The cooler and wetter than usual summer weather has helped keep brush and bark fire responses lower. But as the temperatures begin to rise, we’ll most likely see an increase in bark and brush-related fires. Here are some ways to prevent brush fires this summer.

How to prevent brush and other dry weather-related fires around your home:

  • Remove dead plants or bushes as soon as possible and clear roof and gutters of pine needles and leaves.
  • Remove flammable wood piles, propane tanks away from homes and garage structures.
  • Remove long grass, weeds or anything that can burn from around homes. This includes limbs that touch buildings or hang near the roof.
  • For homes adjacent to large areas of greenbelt, consider defensible space between home and landscaping
  • Homes built on slopes should mitigate dead dry vegetation below and around structure.
  • Either keep lawn hydrated or cut it short if it’s brown.

Outside of the home:

  • Do not light fireworks – besides being illegal, they cause serious injuries and fires.
  • Dispose of smoking materials in proper receptacles and douse in water, not in planters, beauty bark or out of your vehicle window.  
  • Be sure chains and other metal parts are not dragging from your vehicle as they can throw sparks. Check your tire pressure – driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.
  • Be careful driving through or parking on dry grass as hot exhaust pipes can lead to fires.

If you experience a fire, please call 9-1-1 immediately after you are in a safe location away from the fire.

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