9 Ways to Prevent Wildfires

If you’re wondering why wildfires are getting worse, the answer might come as a surprise: although science shows that climate change is driving the increasing severity, over 90% of forest fires in the United States are caused by humans and many of them can be prevented. 

While we’ve all heard about the gender reveal party that sparked the deadly El Dorado fire, many of our everyday activities can also ignite them. We may not be able to stop forest fires entirely because of each ecosystem's unique fire ecology, but if you reside in an area that is prone to drought or forest fires, it's important to follow forest safety guidelines to help prevent potential disasters. 

How to prevent forest fires

Fireworks and forest fire prevention

1. Don’t Set Off Pyrotechnics

We get it: fireworks are as American as baseball and apple pie, and they sure are fun to set off. And gender reveal smoke bombs are all the rage these days, but in a hot and dry environment, they just aren’t worth the risk.

Smoke cigarette

2. Carefully Dispose of Smoking Materials

Be it a joint or a cigarette, douse your butts with water and place in a fire-proof container to safely dispose of when you’re sure they’ve gone out. And whatever you do, don’t toss them on the ground.

Responsible camping prevents forest fires

3. Camp Responsibly

Make sure the conditions are safe and that there isn’t a fire ban where you are — and never leave your campfire unattended. When you’re done, douse it and wait until it’s completely cold to the touch before leaving your campsite. 

Sea water

4. Mow the Lawn Before 10 a.m.

If you need to mow your lawn, the California Wildland Fire Coordinating Group recommends doing it early. But if it’s excessively windy and dry, wait for another day because the metal blades can easily spark a fire if they strike a rock.

Car exhaust maintenance for forest fire prevention

5. Make Sure Your Exhaust is Up to Par

Check the exhaust of your vehicle, chainsaw, leaf blower, etc. to make sure it’s equipped with spark arrestors, which prevent engines from emitting flammable debris. And keep in mind that your exhaust can reach temperatures of 1,000+ degrees!


6. Stay on the Road

Off-roading is a blast, but it can have deadly consequences if done in grasslands or areas with heavy brush. Stick to gravel and asphalt, especially during dry seasons. In fact, the best time to off-road in California may be when the ground is saturated with rain or covered in snow.

Sea water

7. Keep a Close Eye on Candles

Innocent though they may seem, candles are a leading cause of home fires. In fact, their flames can burn as hot as 1,400+ degrees! Your best bet? Place them into sturdy containers that can’t be knocked over, like a mason jar. And never leave them unattended.

Houses prevent forest fires

8. Create and Maintain Defensible Space

If you own, clear away any dead trees, brush, and vegetation within 100 ft. of your home. This helps slow and/or stop the spread of wildfires within your community. It will also protect firefighters as they battle fires around your home.

Lavender and other fire-resistant plants

9. Landscape for Fire Resistance

While you're at it, incorporate fire-resistant plants like french lavender, sage, and California fuchsia and fire-retardant species like aloe, rockrose, and ice plant into your property. Take it one step further by creating fire-resistant zones with stone walls, patios, decks, etc. 

Once the fires have been put out, we will work with our partners around the world to restore ecosystems that have been affected by the blazes.

Want to learn more about what we’re doing to help forests recover? Check out our forest fires recovery tree planting project.

Forest Fire Recovery
Forest Fire Recovery
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Forest Fire Recovery
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Forest Fire Recovery

Join us in restoring our forests, one tree at a time. Reforestation is one of the best ways to restore soil and lanscapes from fire damage made to previously healthy environments. Learn more

With your help, we will:

  • Reforest lands damaged by record-setting fires
  • Support habitat for iconic biodiversity
  • Together, create a positive impact for generations to come
  • We are planting trees in various locations affected by fires, with a current focus on Oregon and British Columbia. We only plant local native tree species, and reforestation starts once professional assessments are made to determine where human intervention would be most ecologically beneficial due to a lack of natural regeneration. Help restore these vital ecosystems by planting a tree 🌿
  • Our current focus is on the West coast of North America, where fires are burning in Oregon and the surrounding region to start an early fire season. Oregon's Bootleg fire is the largest in the US in 2021, with over 400,000 acres already burned. With so much fire damage, reforestation is essential in catalyzing the environmental recovery process, preventing invasive species, and restoring homes for biodiversity. As a result, there will be a need for hundreds of millions of trees. Let's get to work! 🌲
  • A personalized tree certificate (see gallery) to say thanks for your donation. We'll also send you updates on the specific reforestation project your donation is benefiting from so you can track the impact your trees are having on the community and environment.
  • The west coast's rich forest diversity includes dozens of different species of native trees, including some of the world's most exciting and valuable tree species. These include pine, spruce, fir, hemlock, western red cedar, giant sequoia, oak, and sycamore. To maximize the impact of your donation, our partners will determine the most appropriate species of tree to plant depending on the time of year and local ecosystem needs.

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