Colorado and many other western states have been in the news lately because of summer drought conditions and recent devastating wildfires.  This got me thinking about home fire safety, and I’m not talking about kitchen grease fires, interior smoke alarms, or worn floor lamp power cords under the rug.  Today I’m talking about exterior home fires and their prevention.

In drought-condition forest fires it’s often the dry underbrush (wild grasses, and fallen, dead tree limbs, etc.) that provide as much fuel for a wildfire as the trees themselves.  This goes for your yard as well.  Keep dry leaves, dead tree limbs, and rubbish clear.  This yard clutter can turn a small fire into a blaze.

Clean your outdoor grill, and check it to make sure it’s operating safely.  Many indoor home fires start in the kitchen.  Likewise many outdoor home fires start at the grill.  These are particularly dangerous if your grill is positioned like most on the patio, near the house.  Every summer clean out the inside of your grill, removing all accumulation of grease, fallen food debris, and (if you use your grill only infrequently) wasp nests.  You don’t want anything inside the grill that can cause an unexpected flare up.

Building materials.  Stacks of lumber, roofing shingles, etc. sitting on the side of the house or in the garage can provide fuel for home fires.  If you have a home improvement project underway, try to use flame resistant materials.  And to take the lumber issue one further, keep outdoor stacks of firewood for your fire place and other combustible material at least 30 feet away from your Crown Point, St. John, or Cedar Lake home!