If you live west of the Mississippi River, you’ve probably seen or been affected by at least one wildfire. Unfortunately, many of you have experienced a number of them.
And even if you live east of the Mississippi, you’ve probably had to deal with a house fire. Or known someone who has.
Today I’m going to focus mainly on recent and current wildfires that have devastated parts of the U.S.
But I’ll circle back to house fires briefly. And then let you know about a product that could end up saving your life. No matter what kind of fire you might encounter.
Conditions Lengthen Season
During the 1950s, wildfire season was considered to be five months long. It began with the first large fire and ended with the last one.
Hot, dry and windy conditions in recent decades, especially in Western states, have extended the season to seven months. Typically the worst months for wildfires are in the summer.
States with the most or worst wildfires tend to be California, Arizona and Texas. In recent years, Colorado, Oklahoma, Washington, Oregon and others have joined the group.
Other states with high incidences of wildfires are to the east. Including Florida and North Carolina.
Ahead of Last Year’s Pace
As of this writing, there have already been 30,219 wildfires in America this year. They’ve burned 1,389,087 acres of land. That’s according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Last year was a record-setter for wildfires. And yet at this point in 2020, there were 6,413 fewer fires and 180,599 fewer acres burned than this year. That means we could set another dubious record in 2021.
Active large fires are currently raging in Arizona (16), Utah (5), Alaska (5), Colorado (5) and California (5). As well as in New Mexico (4) Montana (3), Oregon (2) and Utah (2).
Record-high temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and northern California are fueling some of these fires.
Reservoir Levels Dropping
As we approach mid-July, homes and landscapes are being destroyed. Roads are being closed. People are being displaced. Some folks are just barely escaping with their lives.
Some wildfires grow so big they actually develop their own weather systems. They create clouds and can impact wind. That makes it extremely difficult for firefighters to contain them.
Making things worse is the lack of water to fight fires. All of California is at some level of drought. One-third of the state is in “exceptional drought,” the most severe classification. Two million people in the San Francisco Bay Area are under a water shortage emergency.
Water levels in the San Gabriel, Morris and Cogswell reservoirs have dropped significantly. The Lake Oroville reservoir water level is so low that its hydroelectric power plant could be shut down for the first time since it opened in 1967.
Crop and pasture loss is already happening. And when it finally does rain, lightning strikes sometimes start wildfires.
From Lush to Parched
This is all too familiar territory for those who lived through the 2020 wildfires. Before and after pictures of the Angeles National Forest bring as many tears to residents’ eyes as smoke from the fires did.
In just 12 months – June 2020 to June 2021 – the 655,000-acre forest went from lush and green to brown and parched. And that’s just one of many forests.
Last year, more than 10 million acres of land were burned in Western states. At least 10,000 buildings were razed and more than 40 lives were lost.
Property damage accounted for more than $16 billion. And another $3.6 billion was spent on fire suppression efforts.
Be Prepared for a Wildfire
If you live in wildfire country, there are a few things you can do to better prepare for a fire that could come toward you in a hurry.
- Move combustible items away from windows and walls.
- Store all lawn furniture and wooden items indoors.
- Get rid of dried leaves, branches and wood in your yard.
- Keep lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems handy.
- Prepare an emergency kit.
- Have an escape plan mapped out.
The Solution Is Simple
As I mentioned earlier, even if you don’t live in the West or in other states where wildfires keep worsening every year, you could be the victim of a house fire.
No matter where you live, it’s crucial that your smoke detector and fire alarm batteries are always working. My recommendation to ensure they are is the 4Patriots Platinum USB-Rechargeable Battery Variety Pack.
Murphy’s Law dictates that your batteries will die just when you need them most. And when you open that kitchen drawer, you’ll find every type of battery except the one you need.
The simple solution is to switch to rechargeable batteries. That way you don’t have to worry about them dying. And with our variety pack, you’ll have five different battery types (AAA, AA, C, D and 9-volt) ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Why depend on single-use batteries that will die at the worst possible time when you could use batteries that recharge up to 500 times?
In addition to your smoke detector and fire alarms, you can charge your radios and flashlights with these rechargeable batteries. As well as emergency lights, TV remotes, toys and other items. And all your batteries are protected in hard-shell storage cases.