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Preventing fires in dry conditions

firefighter spraying water on a brush fire on the side of a major freeway

During the month of July 2023, the Seattle Fire Department responded to 298 brush and bark fires. This greatly exceeded the 113 brush and bark fire responses in July 2022. Warm and dry weather is forecasted through the month of August, increasing the risk for more brush fires. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent these types of fires.

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 dried out

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.