From the Salem, MO. Ranger’s Desk August 201 8

It is that time of year again when the news is full of the devastation that is taking place out west with wild fires. And many of us are thinking “I’m glad I don’t live out there.” Well the truth be known, such travesty does have the opportunity to happen here in the Ozarks.

Presently our fire danger on the forest is Moderate. Even though it seems like we are dry, with the spotty rains we have had we are about where we should be for the year. As we are not in our fire season yet it is not too early to prepare our homes and property for our upcoming fire season.

One online site to check out is . There is a video called “Your Home Can Survive a Wildfire” that has some basic information on how to protect your home. Other on line sites are and which talk about building a “Defendable space” around your home. Some of the topics include:

  • Properly thin and prune trees and shrubs within the defensible space
  • Dispose of slash from tree/shrub thinning.
  • Stack firewood at least 30 feet away and uphill from any structures.
  • Screen attic, roof, eaves and foundation vents, and periodically check them to ensure that they are in good condition.
  • Screen or wall-in stilt foundations and decks; screens should be 1/8-inch or smaller metal mesh (1/16-inch mesh is best).
  • Post signs at the end of the driveway with your last name and house number that are noncombustible, reflective and easily visible to emergency responders.
  • Insure County Road signs are up and visible.
  • Make sure that the driveway is wide enough for fire trucks to enter and exit, and that trees and branches are adequately cleared for access by fire and emergency equipment. Contact your local fire department for information specific they need to access your property.

Our fire season is just a few months away and now is the time to prepare for it.

For more information about the Mark Twain National Forest, or the Salem Ranger District in particular, you can contact us at 573-729-6656 or look us up on the internet at

Get out and enjoy your National Forest!

Thom Haines
Salem Ranger District
Mark Twain National Forest