With dozens of wildfires burning in East Tennessee and no significant rainfall in sight, East Tennesseans are facing a very real threat many of us have never thought about before: the risk of a wildfire bearing down on our homes.

There are some things you can do to be prepared, just in case your home is threatened. You can get more information from Firewise.org.

  • Clear away pine needles, dead leaves, and anything that can burn from rooflines, gutters, decks, porches, patios, and along fence lines. Falling embers will have nothing to burn.
  • Store furniture cushions, rattan mats, potted plants, and other decorations from patios and porches. These items catch embers and help ignite your home if you leave them outside.
  • Wind-borne embers can get into easily through vents and other openings and burn the home from the inside out. Walk around your house to see what openings you can screen or temporarily seal up.
  • Rake out any landscaping mulch to at least five feet away from your home. Embers landing in mulch that touches your house, deck, or fence is a big fire hazard.
  • Trim back any shrubs or tree branches that come closer than five feet to the house and attachments and any overhanging branchs
  • Walk around your house and remove anything within 30 feet that could burn, such as woodpiles, spare lumber, vehicles, and boats-- anything that can act as a large fuel source.
  • If ordered to evacuate, make sure all windows and doors are closed tightly and seal up pet doors, Many homes are destroyed by embers entering these openings and burning the house from inside out.
  • Develop, discuss and practice an emergency action plan with everyone in your home, including what to do with pets (take them with you!), large animals and livestock. Program cell phones with emergency numbers. Know two ways out of your neighborhood and have a predesignated meeting place.
  • Have tools such as a shovel, rake, axe, handsaw, or chainsaw available, and maintain an emergency water source.
  • Always leave if you feel unsafe – don’t wait to be notified.