Be prepared when wild land fires threaten

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Hail up to 3 inches in diameter in the St. Francis, Kan. area wasn’t welcome, but the rain that accompanied it throughout Southwest Nebraska and Northwest Kansas was a welcome reprieve from drought conditions.

More rain is needed if precipitation is ever to be more common than the Red Flag warnings issued by the National Weather Service office in Goodland, Kan.

Check out a public service ad sponsored by Edgewater Insurance and the Gazette on page 6 of Tuesday’s edition for tips on keeping your home safe.

It’s of most concern to rural residents, but it’s vital information for everyone in the region -- we all remember the fire that started north of McCook on March 6, 2018, destroyed John and Jennifer Kugler’s home on the edge of McCook and could have easily burned down many more homes if not for the swift and heroic action of local firefighters and volunteers.

Red Willow Western Rural Fire Department has a complete program available on how to prepare homes before, during and after an event, and is available to talk to homeowners, the community and subdivisions about the zones and items that can assist in slowing a wildfire down and protecting the home.

“Most people don’t realize that wildfires can create their own weather, and most homes that are in the path of a wildfire generally catch fire from radiant heat from the fire and ember dangers around their homes rather than direct flame from the fire,” said Billie Cole of the RWWRFD.

“There are numerous resources for homeowners about becoming fire wise, creating zones around homes, and education on ember dangers and other topics.”

Topics include vegetation management such as home ignition zones, landscaping and maintenance; fire-resistive construction such as roofing and vents, decks and porches, siding and windows; and preparation steps such as emergency responder access, having an emergency action plan, two ways out of your neighborhood and predesignating meeting place, not waiting to evacuate if threatened by a fire, an annual insurance policy checkup and home inventory.

Anyone who is interested in learning more can contact any RWWRFD member and ask about wildland-urban interface information. For more information, call the fire department at 308-345-7674, the McCook Police Department at 308-345-3450 or email rwwrfiredept@gmail.com. More information is also available at Firewise.org.

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  • Take these matters seriously...a fire can very easily devastate and take your life all in a matter of minutes.

    Thank you to all the area fire personnel that were available to fight that nasty Red Flag Beast that day.


    John Kugler

    -- Posted by jkugler on Fri, Apr 30, 2021, at 12:09 AM
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