wildfires prevention

5 essential tips to prevent wildfires

Bushfires are a huge problem facing the United States, particularly in states such as California, Texas, and North Carolina. Another country that has a huge bushfire problem is Australia. With modern equipment, meteorologists are easily able to forecast conditions that spark wildfires, such as windy and dry conditions. However, there are still steps that we can all take to prevent future wildfires.

1. Extinguish campfires when done

Campfires are a key culprit when it comes to wildfires. If you start a fire pit or campfire, always make sure that you completely extinguish it once you are done. You may use either ashes or water to ensure the fire is totally out. It is also important to keep your sleeping gear and tents away from the campfire to make sure that you do not fuel the fire. Loose branches and kindling around the campsite can also worsen the situation, so make sure you tidy up the area.

2. Don’t dump lit cigarettes out of your car

It is easy for smokers to throw out lit cigarettes from their moving car’s window. But this negligent action has a high likelihood of starting a wildfire. Keep in mind that in the right environment and the right conditions, cigarettes and matches have all the heat it takes to start a devastating bushfire. Cigarettes should be completely extinguished before they are thrown into the trash. Wildfires can start when you carelessly flick a cigarette button on the ground.

3. Exercise caution with inflammable liquids

It is always advisable to exercise extreme caution when using propane to refill heaters, stoves, and lanterns. These devices should only be refilled after they have completely cooled because flammable liquids can easily start a fire. Also make sure that any refilling with flammable chemicals is done outside the house rather than inside.

4. Follow local guidelines for burning trash

People who burn trash outside should ensure that they follow local rules and regulations. Areas that are windy or tend to be susceptible to bushfires will have restrictions for burning trash. Even if you are allowed to burn trash, make sure you have a fire extinguisher on the ready. This would allow you to quickly extinguish any small problems that try to get out of control before they become a huge issue.

5. Use fireworks carefully

Fireworks can easily trigger devastating bushfires that lead to billions of dollars in losses. It is important that people are aware of what to do and not do in order to prevent bushfires. Particularly during the 4th of July Holiday, many Americans love to light up crackers as they celebrate. Make sure not to use these things close to any flammable materials, woods, or anything that can fuel a bushfire.

When taken seriously, these simple tips can go a long way to prevent wildfires that can cause loss of life and property. You should also make sure to call 911 should you notice any fires that seem unattended, or that appear to be getting out of control (even if they are attended).

The 5 worst disasters in recent American history

Disasters – whether man made or natural – ruin lives and lead to property losses. The United States has unfortunately borne the blunt of numerous disasters over the years. Taking a long, deep look at these disasters is an important step towards making sure we take the lessons and prepare for future occurrences. This is a list of the 5 most devastating disasters in the history of the US.

1. Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor has the subject of numerous films, including Midway, Pearl Harbor, Hacksaw Ridge, and the Final Countdown. Many of us have learnt about the devastating man-made disaster that took place here. On December 7th of 1941, more than 180 Japanese aircraft attacked the US naval base on the island of Oahu in the state of Hawaii. Within hours, about 18 US warships had been destroyed or sunk, 188 aircraft damaged, and over 2,400 American troops killed. The devastation of this imbecile attack has remained forever engrained in American’s memories.

2. September 11

On the September 11 of 2001, 19 Islamic extremists from the Al Qaeda group hijacked four commercial airliners and used them to attack the United States. At around 8:46 am, the first airplane crashed into the North Tower of the WTC. The second plane hit the South Tower of the WTC at approximately 9:03 am. At 9:37 am, a third airplane crashed into the Pentagon, while the fourth airliner crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. As a result of these attacks, about 3,000 Americans lost their lives, most of them at the World Trade Center. The devastation of this hideous attack sent shockwaves across the nation. For many Americans who witnessed this attack, September 11 will forever remain an unforgettable national tragedy.

3. Galveston Storm of 1900

By the late 1880s, the resort city of Galveston in Texas was the crown gem of the state. In addition to being the state’s biggest port city, it housed the country’s first electric streetlights and was calibrated with millionaire mansions. All this would come to change on September 8 of 1990. A hurricane travelling at 140 miles per hour landed on the Gulf Coast, causing a devastation of epic proportions. Up to 8,000 of the island’s 37,000 died in the storm, making it the deadliest in US history.

4. 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

On April 18 of the year 1906, San Francisco residents woke up to a shattering earthquake. The 7.9 magnitude earthquake created a 296 mile fissure along what is known as the San Andreas Fault. Multiple buildings and homes were leveled, as hundreds of fires burned in the city due to broken gas lines. Since their water supply was drained due to ruptured pipes, all the city’s firefighters could do was watch helplessly. As a result of this earthquake, more than 3,000 people died, 28,000 buildings were leveled, and over 200,000 San Francisco residents were left homeless.

5. Hurricane Maria

In September 2017, a category 5 hurricane nicknamed Maria struck the US region of Puerto Rico. It also devastated Dominica and the Virgin Islands, leading to a death toll of at least 2975 people (although the official death count had been previously reported at 64). More than $90 billion worth of property was lost in Puerto Rico alone.

katrina hurricane

The devastating hurricane Katrina

Katrina was a Category 5 hurricane from the Atlantic ocean that proved to be one of the most devastating, leading to more than 1,800 deaths and over $125 billion in economic losses. The August 2005 hurricane – along with the flooding disaster that followed – left millions of Americans homeless in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. This page highlights essential facts about Hurricane Katrina.

How Katrina was formed

Hurricane Katrina was formed about 200 miles in the Atlantic Ocean from the southeast of Bahamas. According to the NOAA, Katrina started as a tropical depression. In the morning of August 24, a band of storm clouds started to form around the north side of the circulation center. At this time, wind speeds had already reached 40 miles per hour. By the time the hurricane was hitting the Florida coast on August 25, it had already reached Category 1 status. Two people were killed there and this looked like nothing more than a typical hurricane. But when the hurricane got over water again in the Gulf of Mexico, Katrina regained its strength and turned into a Category 5 storm by August 28th. By this time, winds were blowing at 175 miles per hour. The storm then weakened and turned to a Category 3 before land falling on the Mississippi Louisiana border in early August 29. At this time the sustained wind speeds had already reached 120 miles per hour.

Impact of hurricane Katrina

By the time Katrina was making its final landfall, it struck Gulfport and Biloxi in Mississippi, causing immeasurable devastation in both cities. A huge storm surge that was up to 28 feet high struck the coastal areas of Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana. It immediately exposed design flows in the floodwalls and levees that had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers, leading to a widespread flooding of New Orleans. All in all, about 80% of New Orleans and huge swathes of the nearby areas became flooded for weeks. The human displacement that resulted was one of the worst since the Great Depression. Studies show that up to 1 million people in the Gulf Coast region were displaced by the storm.

Politicization of Katrina recovery efforts

The National Guard was activated to assist the hundreds of thousands of people who were directly impacted in New Orleans and surrounding areas. But rescue and recovery efforts became very politicized. Local, state, and federal officials were pointing fingers right from the onset. Many critics blamed the design and engineering of the federal levee system, while others pointed fingers at a slow local and state response for leading to the massive loss of life and property. More so, many residents did not obey initial evacuation warnings, thus placing a severe strain on rescue efforts. Following this political storm, the director of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), and the New Orleans Superintendent of police were forced to resign. The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, and state governor Kathleen Blanco were highly scrutinized for delaying to order the evacuations.

Lessons learnt from hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Katrina led to an evacuation of 400,000 people from New Orleans alone, and up to 1.3 million from the region as a whole. According to a report published on the New York Times, thousands of people stayed in the city simply because they could not afford to leave. Despite the immense loss of life and property in hurricane Katrina, lessons were learnt that have been applied in more recent disasters. Some of the key lessons learnt include business continuity and insurance coverage, as well as impact of storms and demand surge in recovery. Preparedness turned out to be a crucial factor for mitigating elevated storm losses especially in high-risk areas.