May 2 is Wildfire Preparedness Day

LINCOLN, Neb. – Today is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and the Nebraska Forest Service is focusing on the issues caused by the increasing number of homes built in the wildland and forested landscape.

Agency Wildland Urban Interface Forester Mark Frickel says wildfire response by local firefighters around the state is becoming more complex with factors such as grassland and forest vegetation contributing to the behavior of fire.

Frickel says this year’s warm and windy spring is giving Nebraska a taste of what the western part of the United States has for the past several years with recent fires near towns including North Platte and Lodgepole showing that wildland fire can, and will, impact the state’s communities.

Frickel says even with the current coronavirus rules in place, homeowners in interface areas can reduce the potential impact of a wildfire by keeping lawns mowed and well-watered, keeping leaves and needles from gutters and decks, and pruning tree branches that are too close to the house.

He also recommends checking out the Firewise program, a community approach to reducing the danger of wildfire in wildland urban interface areas.

Nebraska Forestry staffers are available to assist with homeowner, neighborhood, and community preparedness planning with the agency also offering cost-sharing to property owners to manage trees and forests surrounding homes and communities.

For further information about Wildfire Preparedness Day and the Firewise program, contact Frickel or your local fire department or visit firewise.org.

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