ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- As the weather warms up, we should remember to practice wildfire safety and grilling safety.

Protect your home from wildfires

Every year, wildfires burn across the United States and a growing number of people are living where wildfires are a real risk.

In 2018, more than 58,000 fires burned nearly nine million acres across the U.S.

More than 25,000 structures were destroyed, including 18,137 residences and 229 commercial structures.

California accounted for the highest number of structures lost in one state, due to the number of significant fires, including the Mendocino Complex, Carr, Camp and Woolsey fires.

Below are recommendations from the National Fire Protection Association to help protect your home against wildfires:

• Keep the corner areas of a building clear of combustible materials, due to the higher probability of having direct flame touching the surrounding ground.

• Keep gutters free of debris and use metal gutters.

• Install hard surfaces, such as a concrete walkway, or use noncombustible mulch products, such as rock.

• Keep the lawn well irrigated and use low-growing herbaceous (non-woody) plants. Shrubs and trees are not recommended in a 5-foot zone directly beside the home.

• Remove dead vegetation and implement a maintenance strategy to keep the 5-foot zone clear of dead plant materials.

• Mitigating home ignition zones shouldn’t stop at 5 feet from the building. It should be combined with the footprint of an attached deck and area that extends away from the building up to 100 feet or to the property line.

Additional resources are located at the NFPA’s website at the following addresses. The first is a wildfire preparation page and the second is a free class on preparing your property for a wildland fire.



May 2 was Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. This event is a time when the NFPA raises awareness of wildfires and encourages individuals and communities to prepare for potential wildfires by clearing shrubs and trees away from homes and structures.

A toolkit is available on the NFPA website at:

Grilling safety

Three out of five households own a gas grill, according to the NFPA’s latest “Home Grill Fires” report. This translates to many tasty meals, but it also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

From 2009 to 2013, an annual average of 8,900 home fires involved grills, hibachis or barbecues. Nearly half of all injuries involving grills were due to thermal burns.

While nearly half of the people who grill do so year-round, July is the peak month for grilling fires, followed by May, June and August.

The NFPA offers tips for safe grilling practices.

• Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors.

• The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

• Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

• Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grates and any accompanying trays.

• Never leave your grill unattended.

A grill safety tip sheet and additional information can be found on the NFPA website at: