When I think of wildfires, I generally think of them happening in California, Washington, Alaska, or Australia. Certain states just never have to worry about such things, right? Wrong. Just before Valentine’s Day 2016, a wildfire raged in Mississippi and into Alabama, burning more than 4,000 acres.
Mississippi is a fairly humid place, which might lead a person to believe that wildfires can’t happen there. After all, water beats fire, and if the trees and grass and other plant life aren’t being drained of their moisture in dry, desert-like heat, then what’s the worry?
As we can see, there’s always a worry. Actually, wildfires aren’t that rare an occurrence in Mississippi, or other humid states, for that matter. The average number of wildfires in that state annually is close to 4,000, and an average of 110,000 acres are burned each year.
But why is this important? For me, just because I don’t think something happens, doesn’t mean it doesn’t, or is even infrequent. In the case of Mississippi, for example, wildfires aren’t rare at all. So why don’t I hear much about them? Maybe it’s because they’re not as devastating as other states’ fires. Maybe it’s because I don’t live near that area, so the news just doesn’t get to me. Or maybe it’s because they are so common that it just really isn’t news anymore. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that these things do happen, whether I think about them or not.
So what else goes on that I don’t know about that I should be aware of? More specifically, what should I be aware of here in Utah? I know wildfires can be a problem, and drought is always a lingering threat (not as bad as California, but we still get it here).
In a traditionally dry location, we probably don’t think about flooding very often, but you know what? It happens! Actually, because it’s so dry, flash flooding is more than likely during a good downpour. Living pretty close to the mountains can also bring water down fast, and could even trigger landslides.
Tornadoes, though, are something we just don’t get. Our elevation and climate or something just deters those whirling winds. Except…not quite two decades ago a tornado tore through Salt Lake City. But according to science, that should never have happened, right? Apparently not. This is just one more example of things happening that we really didn’t think could. I bet those people that were affected by the tornado won’t forget that anytime soon…
Of course, there are so many things that could happen here at any given time. But I didn’t know that the Mississippi wildfires were a thing, so perhaps there’s more to my location than I’ve stopped to think about.
Being prepared for a disaster involves knowing what to be prepared for. If you are aware that wildfires are a danger in your neck of the woods, you probably have an emergency kit or bug-out bag handy, just in case you need to get out quickly. If you live in a drought-stricken area, you probably have alternate options for water that don’t involve rain. No matter your location, there are certain disasters that are more prevalent than others, and being prepared for those can keep you and your family one step ahead of the game.
My challenge to you is to do some research about the potential threats in your area, make a list of how you need to prepare for these threats, and then go do it.
You can never predict when a disaster will strike, or how hard you’ll be hit.
Research the threats in your area and let us know if there were any new threats you learned about!