What’s Causing Fires Problems in Homes this Winter?
Reports all over the nation warn of increasing stories of fire damage in homes across America.
Local fire departments responded to 1,338,500 fires in 2020. These fires caused 3,500 civilian deaths, 15,200 civilian injuries and $21.9 billion in property damage.
Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 64 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 89 seconds.
It’s important to understand what causes these fires during the winter and ways to prevent these tragedies from happening in your home.
Causes of Winter Fire Damage
Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.
Similar to candles, space heater fires are also common in the winter months. Most are due to clothing, curtains, or other flammable objects placed far too close to the heater. Be sure to keep flammable objects at least three feet away from space heaters.
Water expands by about 9 percent when it freezes. When water freezes underground, it causes a condition called frost heave, which is an upward swelling of soil. Frost heaves can damage roads, building foundations, railroad tracks, and, yes, gas pipeline systems. Fires and explosions related to petrochemical pipelines have been responsible for significant injury and loss of life . An investigation of nine fire accidents that occurred between 2004 and 2007 reported that pipeline damage was a major cause of explosions and ruptures, resulting in significant burn injuries and over 600 deaths at the disaster sites.
The best response is to detect and report the problem.
Are You Prepared for Wildfire Season?
- Check all your fire alarms and make sure they are in working order.
- Make a plan of what to salvage and what to rescue if you should experience a home fire.
- Talk with your family about an escape plan
- Remove all flammable vegetation around all structures. Contact your local fire department to find out if there is a minimal amount of clearance required. Trim trees so branches are six feet from the ground and 10 feet from your chimney. Remove branches overhanging your roof.
If you have time…
- Move patio or deck furniture, cushions, door mats, and potted plants in wooden containers either indoors or as far away from the home, shed, or garage as possible.
- Close and protect your home’s openings, including attic and basements doors and vents, windows, garage doors, and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home.
- Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Firefighters have been known to use the hoses to put out fires on rooftops.
Whom to Call for Fire Damage Restoration?
To report a wildfire – CALL 911
For a wildfire in a remote location contact one of the Interagency Fire Centers:
Northern Utah Interagency Fire Center (NUIFC): (801) 495-7611
Richfield Interagency Fire Center (RIFC): (435) 896-8404
Uintah Basin Interagency Fire Center (UBIFC): (435) 789-7021
Moab Interagency Fire Center (MIFC): (435) 259-1850
Southern Utah’s Color Country Fire Center (CCFC): (435) 865-4611
Fire Restoration in Utah
Contact us! RainFire Restoration has restored dozens of homes across Utah from fire and smoke damage. Our team is experienced and ready to help you recover from any type of fire loss. Call us today at (385)233-6862 if you have experienced fire damage in your home.
Useful Stats and References
- More than 500 homes (speculated) burnt in wildfires in Colorado. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/31/us/colorado-marshall-fire.html
- In Utah—America’s fastest growing state—two of every five homes (39.4%) face high fire risk. That’s a larger share than any other Western U.S. state analyzed by Redfin. Colorado and Idaho came in second and third place, with 19% and 14.4% of properties at high risk, respectively. Less than 10% of homes in the following states have high risk: Oregon, Nevada, California, Washington and Arizona.https://www.redfin.com/news/wildfire-real-estate-risk-2021/
- The majority of Utah, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, remains in extreme drought as of Thursday, and some portions of the state remain potentially ripe for wind-whipped wildfires.