New York City's outer-borough grasslands are prone to brush fires when vegetation is dry. Most brush fires in New York City are small and do not affect buildings. However, there are many areas where homes and buildings are near open areas with minimal or no natural buffers — particularly on Staten Island. Residents of these communities should take steps to make their homes less vulnerable to such hazards.
- Keep your lawn, trees, and plants well-watered.
- Mow regularly. Clear weeds, cut grass, and dry vegetation from around your home.
- Inspect and remove old or dead vegetation and debris from around your property, including roofs, crawlspaces, vents, decks, etc., to reduce fire fuel.
- Use non-flammable plants for landscaping.
- Create islands of vegetation and remove large bushes under trees so that fire does not have a path to your house. Do not plant trees and plants too close to structures and under overhangs or eaves.
- Properly dispose of trash and debris, removing furniture, boxes and other material from your property.
- Avoid building structures with combustible materials.
- Store flammable liquids properly. Refuel garden equipment carefully.
- If you smoke, use an ashtray and dispose of cigarettes carefully.
- Keep the roof clean and clear. Remove leaf clutter from roof and gutters. Cut tree branches that are within six feet of your roof.
- Find out your roof's fire rating. If your roof needs to be replaced, Class A provides the best fire resistance and best protection. Visit the Underwriters Laboratory website, www.ul.com, for additional guidance.
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TERMS
- Fire Weather Watch - A Fire Weather Watch is used to advise of the possible development of a red flag event in the near future. Usually fire danger is in the very high to extreme category. A Fire Weather Watch will normally be issued 12 to 24 hours in advance of the expected onset of severe fire weather conditions.
- Red Flag Warning - A Red Flag Warning is issued to indicate the imminent danger of severe fire weather with a relatively high probability of occurrence. Usually the fire danger is in the very high to extreme category. A Red Flag Warning will normally be issued for potential severe fire weather events in less than 12 hours. A Red Flag Warning may or may not be preceded by a Fire Weather Watch.