4 wildfire myths debunked

By Allstate

Last updated: January 1

Wildfires can be unpredictable — that’s part of what can make them dangerous. However, there are some things you can do that may help you protect yourself and your property. Take a look at the truth behind four wildfire myths to learn what to do if a fire breaks out in your area.

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Myth #1: Wildfires only occur in the summer.

Wildfires can happen at any time during the year, Ready.gov reports. In California, for example, fires often get worse in the fall because it follows the dry season and brings strong offshore winds that may cause fires to spread more quickly, according to The Weather Channel.

Myth #2: There is nothing I can do to protect my property.

Removing hazards around the exterior of your home may help protect it from wildfires, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency(FEMA).

Create "defensible zones" between the structure of your home and the surrounding wilderness, suggests the U.S. Fire Administration. Within the 30 feet surrounding your house, Ready.gov recommends clearing out anything that could easily catch fire, including brush, dried leaves and wood piles, and removing debris from your roof and gutters. If you aren't comfortable handling this task, consider hiring a professional.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends trimming tree branches so that the lowest are six to 10 feet from the ground to help prevent fire from spreading.

Myth #3: I'm only at risk if I'm directly in the wildfire zone.

Although you may not be directly in its path, your home could still be at risk from flying embers, FEMA notes. Embers can drift high above the blaze and set fire to a building more than a mile away, according to FEMA.

Myth #4: Wildfires only occur in the Western states.

Wildfires may start in any place in the U.S., says Ready.gov. From a lightning strike in your backyard to a campfire accidentally left to burn in a national park, wildfires can happen in any location, Ready.gov notes. That's why it's important for you to be familiar with how to help protect your family and your property.

Knowing the truth about these four myths may help you better understand wildfires, and protect yourself, your family and your property if a wildfire happens near you.