Ways to keep your house safe during a wildfire - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Ways to keep your house safe during a wildfire

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KILGORE, TX (KLTV) -

Grass fires are popping up and an East Texas fire department is trying to get the word about wildfire risk.

The Kilgore Fire Department is promoting their "Ready, Set, Go!" program to let East Texans know what to do during a wildfire and how to keep their house standing.

"Studies show that 80 percent of homes that are lost during wildfires actually could have been prevented had the homeowner taken some steps prior to the event," said Michael Simmons, the Assistant Fire Chief for the Kilgore Fire Department. "One way you can make your home safe is by what we call create a defensible space."

At minimum, firefighters say you want tree limbs cut back at least 10 feet away from your home.

There are many vulnerable spots on your home for these fires to catch.

"Simply keeping your bushes trimmed around your windows sometimes can prevent that fire from extending into your home." said Simmons.

We often we overlook hazards around our homes.

"A lot of people don't realize the dead vegetation under their deck and sometimes small ember can get inside of that and start a fire," said Simmons.

It's important to clean under your deck and remove dead debris off your roof that can collect in vents, and crevices.

"Another area people don't realize are combustible materials around your home, such as patio furniture," said Simmons. "Simply move the patio furniture 25-30 feet away from the home."

Another hazard is tall vegetation growing near trees.

Low grass fires can feed off these tall plants and catch fire to the trees, starting bigger wildfires for fire fighters to contain.
     
One floating ember could mean losing everything.

"That small ember can actually be enough to spark the fire that could destroy your home," said Simmons.

The most important person to protect your home may not be firefighters, but yourself.

The Kilgore Fire Department can arrange classes on their "Ready, Set, Go!" program for your group or organization.

If you are interested, you can contact them directly at (903)988-4112.

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