Smokey the Bear said it best: only you can prevent wild fires. But this applies if you live in a residential area and have lots of trees on or around your property. Dead limbs on trees that are not removed can start in the blink of the eye. They can start as simply by someone in a passing car flicking a cigarette out the window that lands on just the right spot or even from a strike of lightening during a storm.
The most common situation where wildfires start is when people go camping and leave their campfires unattended. Every summer we hear of fires starting in wildernesses from unattended campfires. Sometimes fires can start from the mowing near power lines.
But there is a lot less of a chance for wildfires during the winter. Fires are more likely to start during the hot and dry summer weather, plus here are more people hanging out outside and starting fires. Although you should still be weary of wild fires during the early months of fall when you are outside making bonfires. You probably don’t have to worry about wildfires as much during the winter because the weather is generally wetter and colder. But if you live in an area that has warmer winters, you need to be more careful.
Fires can also start easily if your area is experiencing a drought. People who live in areas susceptible to droughts should make sure to check their property for dead trees and dead limbs on trees every spring right before the dry season so you can remove any limbs that might have become damaged and died during winter.
Many times trees can get really damaged during the winter. If they aren’t getting enough nutrients or if they are near roads they are especially at risk. This is because the salt or runoff water containing salt from the roads can damage trees. Salt can kill trees and plants in two ways: through the soil and through the air. When road salt dissolves, it can block a trees photosynthesis process and cause it to die. So pay extra attention to trees that you have near roads or near areas where road salt has been laid during the winter, because these trees are more likely to have damage.
Trees can also be damaged from heavy snow or ice. Trees with brittle wood such as Chinese and Siberian elms, poplars, silver maples, birches and willows are at highest risk. These trees are generally quite popular in residential areas because they grow fast. But when an area experiences an ice storm, these trees are very easily damaged. A crack in a limb can cause the whole thing to die, so sometimes damage isn’t obvious right after the storm.
To keep your property protected from wildfires you should always check to see if you have dead limbs or trees and have them removed as soon as possible so they don’t cause fires that can be hard to put out.
Stewart Scott is the owner of Cevet Tree Care, offering tree trimming services in and around Columbia, Mo, for nearly 20 years.
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