Potential For Wildfires Highest It Has Been In Years

The potential for wildfire in our area is higher than we normally see this time of year, according to Benton County fire officials.

The best thing you can do to give your home a fighting chance is create a defensible space.

Walla Walla County District Five Chief Mike Wickstrom said the department has moisture level measurements of soil and shrubs.

Those measurements are showing that right now the potential for wildfires are significantly higher than it has been in the past 10 years.

Wickstrom said right now the number of fires is about average but they are all a little bit bigger than normal.

"The grasses are dry and carrying the fire a lot quicker and something that we would stop at a half acre fire is more like 3 acre fire," said Wickstrom.

He said by creating a defensible space you can create a protective buffer to keep the fire from spreading to your home.

"Look at your yard, what's going to burn, do I have a lot of tumbleweeds blowing up against the fence or the garage or outbuildings or your house or do I have a deck with a lot of leaves blowing in under there. Just a small little firebrand from one of these wildfires can start your house in fire."

Wickstrom said you should have about a 30 foot buffer between your house and anything combustible.

Watering your lawn or using rocks in your landscaping are a few simple things you can do to keep your property protected, and don't forget to keep all firewood away from any structures.