Warmer months means wildfires are in full swing across the country. Owning a ranch means you have many things to protect from fire – from your residence and equipment to your cattle and horses.
Wildfires often start unnoticed and spread very quickly. Animals are especially susceptible to wildfires, particularly in small pastures. It’s never too early, or late, to begin preparing your home, barn and other precious items for potential hazards relating to fires.
Protect your land.
- Create and maintain fire guards around pastures.
- Create noncombustible areas around spaces where equipment, fuel and hay are stored.
- Make sure your ranch has an adequate water supply, such as an irrigation ditch or pond.
- Conduct regular inspections of your property.
Protect your barn and other structures.
- Install and maintain smoke detectors. Check them at least once per month.
- Keep barns and other structures free of trash and combustible material.
- Place fire extinguishers in all structures and equipment. Check the extinguishers regularly.
- Obtain fire insurance for all buildings and equipment.
- Use approved fire doors on all buildings.
- Keep above‐ground fuel storage tanks at least 40 feet from buildings.
Protect your animals.
- Develop an evacuation plan for all animals or create an area where the animals can be moved.
- Obtain fire insurance for your livestock.
Most importantly, it’s always wise to keep a plan in place and make sure all family members and ranch hands are in the loop. Also, keep important emergency contact numbers in plain sight and have an emergency readiness kit on hand. In the meantime, you can always check online for the latest updates on active wildfires in your area. The American Red Cross has all current wildfires listed on a map that covers all of the United States.
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