It's "wildfire" in the United States. "Bushfire" in Australia. Whatever the name, these quick spreading fires are destructive—and fire season is getting longer.
According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), California, USA, had its warmest July on record. The hot, dry weather fueled multiple wildfires across the state. On August 8, 2018, the New York Times reported that the California fire is now the largest in the state's history.
Here are steps you can take in advance to help protect your facilities that may be in the path of fire.
- Keep gutters free of debris.
- Cover vents with wire mesh to keep burning embers out.
- Treat wooden exterior walls with fire-retardant paint.
- Remove all combustible yard storage.
- Develop a written contingency plan with the public fire service.
- Fully train and equip your emergency response team (ERT) to deal with wildfire/bushfire emergency.
- Replace any asphalt roof shingles with tiles or slate material.
- Create a clearance zone around buildings and structures. The clearance zone should be a minimum of 100 ft. (30 m) from a grassland exposure and 330 ft. (100 m) from a woodland or forest exposure.
- Protect windows and frames with permanently fitted one-hour fire rated shutters.
- Consider protecting any combustible exterior walls with outside sprinklers.
- Provide an adequate and reliable water supply to meet automatic sprinkler and hose stream demands.
For further details:
- Download FM Global's Understanding the Hazard: Wildfire/Bushfire Exposure
- Download FM Global Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet: 9-19 Wildland Fire