California Wildfire Threatens Hundreds of Homes

Wildfire smoke is once again filling the air in California, as a fire in Kern County has already burned more than 2,000 acres and is threatening at least 500 homes as of Monday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Shirley Fire is burning in and near the Sequoia National Forest, and has come extremely close to a community 30 miles northeast of Bakersfield. The fire is just 10 percent contained, while the cause is still unknown.

Prolonged drought and windy conditions are fueling the fire and allowing it to quickly spread. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) urges nearby residents to stay alert and heed evacuation orders, which can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/3895/.

“It’s critical that residents near the wildfire pay close attention to local news and weather reports,” said Dr. Steve Quarles, IBHS senior scientist and wildfire expert. “Dry fuels and high winds can quickly alter the path of a wildfire putting people in harm’s way who thought they were in a safe location. If you are told to leave an area, evacuate as quickly as possible,” Quarles said.

For all residents in wildfire-prone regions, one of the most effective ways to make your property more resistant to wildfires is by creating what is called defensible space. This will help slow an approaching wildfire and help keep it from igniting your home or nearby structures and vegetation.

Learn how to create defensible space by using IBHS’ infographic below. To learn about other effective actions you can take to protect your home from wildfire, visit http://disastersafety.org/wildfire.

Dr. Quarles is available for interviews. To arrange an interview, please contact Brent Henzi at (813) 675-1035 or bhenzi@ibhs.org.

IBHS is a leading national expert on preparing for, and repairing and rebuilding structures after a catastrophe to make them more disaster-resistant and make communities more resilient. Visit DisasterSafety.org for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, large and small. Follow IBHS on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on Facebook.

IBHS Wildfire Consumer Resources

IBHS Videos (Demonstrations at the IBHS Research Center)


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