North Dakota recognizes fire prevention week

Beth Hill
Special to Devils Lake Daily Journal

DEVILS LAKE - Locally and nationally, it has been a long and active fire season. North Dakota alone has seen almost 2400 wildfires in the state, burning more than 125,000 acres. The State Fire Marshal, North Dakota Forest Service, North Dakota Department of Emergency Services and local firefighting resources are committed to ensuring the safety and security of all those living in and visiting our state. Thus, Governor Doug Burgum has declared October 3-9, 2021, as Fire Prevention Week in North Dakota. North Dakotans everywhere are encouraged to do their part in preventing fires, both in and outside the home.

Wildland firefighting resources on the ground in North Dakota.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics show that in 2019, U.S. fire departments responded to 339,500 home structure fires, which caused 2,770 fire deaths. These numbers show that home fires continue to pose a significant threat to safety. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Escape planning and practice can help make the most of that time, giving everyone enough time to get out. Residents are encouraged to make sure their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms meet the needs of all family members, including those with sensory or physical disabilities.

There are a number of fire prevention methods you can practice outside the home as well. Avoid parking machinery and vehicles on or near dry vegetation. Ensure your equipment is properly maintained, and cross chains when hauling to prevent sparks. Farmers harvesting crop should be sure to keep their machines clean, mount fire extinguishers in and outside the cab, and know how to use them. Extinguish campfires and properly discard cigarettes. Teach your children about fire safety, and adhere to any burn bans or red flag warnings in effect.

Local jurisdictions – city, county, or tribal – may institute burn bans in accordance with the fire danger index, if conditions require. To learn more about your local Burn Ban restrictions and daily Fire Danger rating, visit https://www.ndresponse.gov/burn-ban-restrictions-fire-danger-maps. You can also consult with your local fire department or emergency management office for the most current information regarding restrictions in your area.

For more general information about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning, visit www.fpw.org. For more general information about wildfires and for interactive activities for children, please visit https://www.smokeybear.com/en