The number one question we are asked is, “How is the Market?” Our clients and those thinking about making a move here in North Idaho are always interested. Is it a good time to buy? Sell? Build? Invest?
It’s one of our favorite discussions. Real Estate is dynamic and markets are always changing. There are numerous factors that impact the the Real Estate Market here locally. Digging deeper and staying abreast of the key factors that effect our local market is our job. Considering national and local trends along with evaluating key factors will have an impact on how we answer that question… How is the Market? It all depends on what you want to achieve.
At Windermere, we are fortunate to have our own Chief Economist, Matthew Gardner. He is an amazing resource and here is his report on our Idaho Market.
“In Northern Idaho, Shoshone County experienced a 17.9% increase in sales over the third quarter of 2018. There was a modest increase in Bonner County and a very slight contraction in Kootenai County.” Matthew Gardener
Interested in knowing how this market will effect you in one of North Idaho’s 5 Counties (Kootenai, Shoshone, Bonner, Boundary or Benewah) for buying, selling, investing or building? Connect with us her or find us on one of our social sites and we will be happy to discuss our market and how it will impact your Real Estate goals.
John & Tracey Tindall Professional Agents
|John & Tracey Professional Agents|
|Keeping it Real Estate with John & Tracey|
Windermere, Coeur d’Alene Realty
1000 Northwest Blvd
Coeur d’Alene Idaho 83814
It’s that beautiful time of year again here in Coeur d’Alene… Fall!
With Fall comes all of the beautiful and colorful leaves that we love and enjoy for about the first 2 weeks. After they have fallen off the trees, the fun begins with leaves all over our yards and driveways. We then being the clean up as we ready our yards for winter. The raking of those beautiful leaves into piles and then scooping them into bags to take to the landfill to throw way.
DON’T BOTHER with that this year! Spend more time inside this year enjoying your hot cocoa and cozy PJ’s! Our City of Coeur d’Alene is not only beautiful but they are also awesome! One of the benefits of living is Coeur d’Alene and our Leaf Pick Up program and its absolutely FREE for you!
Leaf Pickup! Starting Friday November 12th
Click the link here for leaf pickup map. Find your zone – leaf pickup will happen in alphabetic order.
Some things to keep in mind:
- You may start putting your leaves out Friday November 2nd.
- Please move cars out of the street if at all possible during leaf pick-up.
- Keep the leaves about one foot off the curb line to facilitate storm water flow.
- Be alert for leaf pick-up equipment traveling through your neighborhood.
- Keep a safe distance away from leaf pick-up heavy equipment.
- Recognize that we have a tough job to do in a very short window between when the leaves fall and when the snow flies.
- Understand that city and private trucks are exempted from covering loads during the leaf pick-up period. Sweepers will follow city trucks to collect remaining/excess leaves.
- Place bagged leaves in street.
- Mix branches, rubble or other refuse in with the leaves.
- Miss the deadline… we only have time for one pass!
Here in beautiful North Idaho we are lucky to have 4 very distinct seasons. Everybody loves the warmth of Summer, the freshness of Spring, the colors of Fall, and the coziness of Winter. With winter comes SNOW and that can mean snow storms! Driving in the snow and knowing how to be prepared for winter driving can be a bit stressful. Knowing what to do or even where to start preparation can be one of the biggest hurdles. There are simple preparations that can be done to your vehicle and with your family to get through the longest and coldest season. Check out the winter driving preparation tips below to help avoid winter sneaking up on you and those you love.
Preparation Tips for Winter:
Get a Vehicle Winter Maintenance Check-up Before Winter Hits:
~ Don’t wait to check your battery, belts, hoses, radiator, lights, brakes, heater/defroster and wipers
~ Tire shops and mechanics are busiest just before and during winter storms, so get your check-up scheduled NOW
Know How to Drive in the Snow and Ice
~ Start you vehicle early and scrape your windows each morning before heading out. It will ensure you will have a clear view of the roadway and keep you warm
~ Be smooth and slow in steering, breaking and accelerating. If you move the tires too quickly, they don’t have time to respond and you will end up sliding.
~ Drive for the conditions – that means drive slower, accelerate slower, don’t stop if you can avoid it since accelerating back up may be difficult and leave additional room between you and the vehicle in front of you (Keep in mind that the larger the vehicle the longer it will take for it to stop)
~ Do not use cruise control because if your car skids or hydroplanes it accelerates to maintain the vehicles speed which will make it very difficult to remain in control of your vehicle.
~ Accelerate from a stop in 2nd gear because there is less torque and you’re less likely to spin the tire.
~ Know how to handle a hill, do not power up the hill or stop on your way up.
~ Drive in the snow pack next to the road to get more traction if the road is too icy
~ Remember that all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles do not stop faster or steer better on ice
~ Slow down when you approach intersections, off-ramps, bridges or anything that looks like it may be icy or where you will need to stop
~ If you end up behind a snow plow, slow down and give the plow extra room
~ Chain-up and removal areas are often where people are out of their vehicles so be sure to slow down and be vigilant in those areas
Practice driving in parking lots to learn how to handle your vehicle in a slide and get to know your breaks, that will help
tremendously in a real world situation
Have Basic Winter Survival Kit & Basic Winter Travel Gear in Your Vehicle:
~ You never know what you will run into when you drive away from your home each winter morning, so it’s best to always be prepared. The checklist below will make sure you have everything you need.
Know What to do in an Emergency:
~ If you start to slide, first thing to do is stay calm! Avoid sudden movements. Do not turn your tires quickly, accelerate or break suddenly, it can cause you to loose traction. Look where you want to go and steer that direction. If you start
heading off the road, steer towards things that will cause the least amount of damage, such as an empty field or yard.
~ Find a roadside assistance company and plan that works for you. Check with your insurance provider and see if it’s comes with your plan or any possible discounts. Don’t forget to renew the policy! Many individuals let it expire and forget about it until it’s needed.
~ There may be a situation where you are stranded, maybe your vehicle broke down or you’ve slide off the road, and you need a tow truck or a ride. It’s good to have phone numbers saved in your phone in case you are at a location where you can’t access the internet. Below is a small list of tow companies and ride options in our area:
- Schaffer’s Towing – (208)667-2330
- Reliable Towing – (208)762-5151
- Cole’s Automotive, Mobile Service, & Towing – (208) 83-3582
- Al’s Towing – (208)265-8697
- Coeur d’Alene Cab – (208) 667-9000
- Collins Taxi – (208) 704-0151
Note: Often with ridesharing options, such as Lyft and Uber, you must sign up and create an account to use their service. If you haven’t already, it would be a good idea for sign up for one so you have another ride option.
Keep Your Fuel Tank Full:
~ Don’t let it fall below half a tank because condensation can form in the empty portion of the gas tank. In cold weather, that condensation will freeze then collect into icy blockages in your lines and make it difficult to start your vehicle.
Plan With Your Family:
~ Create a plan that works well with your family in case an emergency happens, especially if you have younger drivers
~ Go over it each year before the snow falls
~ Be sure to find your local station for traffic reports and emergency messages. Most local stations in your area will have weather alerts, but if you’re specifically looking for a weather channel, click here to find one in your area.
~ Check the weather frequently so you are prepared for its arrival
Check Your Tires:
~ Make sure your chains fit before the first winter storm
~ Have the correct type of tires for the weather
~ Check tire pressure during cold weather. To do so, first find out what the recommended pressure is. Then after your tires have cooled, press the tire gauge directly into the tire vulvae and hold firmly (You should hear no air coming out). Based on what the gauge says, you could either release some air, add some or leave it. Check it frequently though winter.
Check out this video for additional recommendations and visuals to help with the tips listed above:
Click on the Checklists Below for More Information:
AND REMEMBER TO ALWAYS BE SAFE OUT THERE!!
Buying your first home? Maybe you have done this before and just assume lending is pretty straight forward? Avoid these common mistakes that can blindside a buyers mortgage and closing day!
Lending is a complicated business with a number of moving parts and many rules that can make the difference between a happy closing day or no home at all. There are so many things that can effect your loan process and your road to a successful closing day. Here are just a few of the most common mistakes that buyers make.
Here are a few more things to avoid so that you can keep loan and purchase on the rails through to closing day!
Big Purchases on Credit. It is tempting to buy the furniture for your new home or a new car for the garage before the sale closes. Take care if you are making these purchases on credit. Large purchases on credit can have a major impact on your credit profile which effects your mortgage application. It’s a better plan to wait until after closing or pay cash for these transactions or you may be putting that furniture in a different living room than you originally picked them out for.
No 90-Day Same as Cash! Many times you may be tempted to make a furniture or appliance purchase for your new home. Often these can be done now and no payments for 90 days or even longer. Don’t be fooled. These purchases still affect your credit and can destroy your loan process. Remember, just a small change in your credit picture might be just enough to keep your loan from moving forward.
IRS, State and Local Liens. You’ve heard the old saying “Death and Taxes”. Back taxes and liens can derail your attempts to get financing for a mortgage so be sure to have your books in order before filing your loan application. There are a number of searches done against your social security number just before closing and this is where liens against you sometimes appear, even though they are NOT on your credit report.
Changing jobs, become self-employed or quitting a job. Changing jobs will change the qualification basis and if you move into a different line of work or take a lower paying job, this may disqualify you from moving forward with your purchase. Also going from an employee to self employed changes everything. Of course you need a job so don’t quit yours.
Don’t Spend your Money! Especially your funds set aside in your bank account for your closing day. Often these funds need to be on deposit for a couple of months to be “seasoned” and allowable for your purchase. If you spend it, you may have problems having new funds seasoned in time for your closing day. Also many times your loan will require a certain amount of “reserve funds” in your account and trying to get those funds into your account at the last minute can be catastrophic.
Large Deposits. You would think more money is a good thing, right? But large deposits are handled differently and require sourcing, which can get complicated. Always ask your loan officer before you make a large deposit.
Changing Bank Accounts. You will not want to change bank accounts during the loan process. Making a move like this will change your financial picture and quite possibly slow down the process or cause your loan to be denied.
Never Co-sign. Don’t do this for anyone during the loan process. Co-signing will not only change your credit picture, it will also change your debt ratio. The smallest change in debt ratio may ruin your chances for a loan approval.
Late Payments, Missed Payments. Credit Inquiries. Of course pay your creditors on time and avoid having your credit report pulled during the loan process. Late or missed payments will decrease your credit score and so will excessive credit report inquires. Sometimes just a few points on your credit score make the difference between a happy closing day or no closing day at all.
Overpaying. Before your bank will approve your mortgage they will appraise the home you are purchasing. If they feel you are overpaying they are likely to decline your mortgage application. If you find yourself in this situation consult with your agent on renegotiating your offer to be more in line with the bank’s appraised value.
Purchasing too close to Foreclosure. If you are making an offer on a house which is facing foreclosure be sure to have a closing date set before the foreclosure date. Have your agent work with the lender to structure closing before the house goes back to the bank and into foreclosure
Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). CLUE is a database of insurance claims for both people and property. Your home insurance rates are determined by the information about you and the property you plan to purchase which is contained in this report. Past claims for water damage, falling trees and even dog bites from present and past owners can multiply your insurance rates. Consult your agent about the CLUE report for your future home as soon as possible once your home purchase offer is accepted.
As always, work closely with your lender. Share everything with your loan officer so they can navigate through the process and guide you through the rough spots and onto closing. It’s better to know about potential issues up front and not be surprised just before closing with bad news. How a great loan officer helps you! and Other missteps that keep you from closing.
If you are just starting the process and want to know more about how the buying process works, connect with us. We will be happy to meet with you and walk you through the buying process, help you find a lender and get you on the path to home ownership.
firstname.lastname@example.org 208-818-2456 email@example.com 208-818-2365
Idaho hunting is some of the best around! 20.4 million acres of the state is National Forest, which is approximately 40%. There’s more than enough room for every type of hunter. There are different seasons for different types of animals, such as big game (deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, wolf, etc.), sheep, goat, moose, turkey, waterfowl and more! Idaho offers a season for 3 types of weapons – archery, rifle, and muzzle loader. Each season, unit and weapon have different rules, regulations, and dates. But there is so much more to the hunting experience
Getting Ready for the Hunt
Lots of planning has to go into getting ready for hunting, no matter which type of hunter you are. Check out the checklist below to get your planning started now:
- Get into shape – hunting is a lot of work as you trek through the forest. And if you get your target, the work continues as you have to pack it out.
- Get maps and start scouting – visit the places you intend to hunt. Get a lay of the land and find out the most visited areas.
- Sight in your weapon & practice shooting – be sure your weapon is on target then continue practicing to make sure you hit the animal when it’s time.
- Practice calling – if you’re going to call, practice before you get in the field, it can be hard to master.
- Break in new boots – don’t want blisters to form during your hunts.
- Buy your tag – buy it early while you’re thinking about it. Be sure it’s purchased before opening day.
- Check the weather forecast – if you know what the weather will be, you can prepare appropriately.
- Check batteries – check them in all your battery powered equipment and just in case, bring spares.
- Sharpen knives – dull knives are more dangerous than sharp ones.
- Get your pack gear together – use the gear list below to help with this.
- Always tell people where you plan to hunt/camp – the more detailed the better. Be sure to let them know how long you’ll be gone, if you’ll ever be in cell range, etc. That way if an emergency comes up, those at home can reach you.
As every hunter know, there is so much gear when it comes to hunting. With all the necessary clothes for any possible temperature, pack gear, weapons, ammo, emergency gear, and then if you plan to camp that adds a whole other lists of gear. Below is just an overview of the type of gear you’ll need to pack and a link to a full list.
- Weapons, ammo and hunting aids
- Food and water
- Unexpected night in the field
- Clothing for all weather
Places to get Gear
Here in North Idaho, there is an abundance of options to purchase all you need for hunting, including clothing, equipment, and weapons.
Where to Hunt
As mentioned, Idaho is 40% national forest, so there are plenty of areas to hunt. A few favorites here in North Idaho are the St. Joe River, Avery and Coeur d’Alene River. But there are so many more options! Click here for Idaho’s Wildlife Management Areas.
Hunting for Visitors
Idaho is a desirable place to hunt and nonresidents are more than welcome to join! Unfortunately, tags and licenses for nonresidents to hunt is more than those of residents, so expect an added cost. Click here for a full list of licenses, tags and permits and how much they cost for nonresident hunters
If you’re not from Idaho or interested in hunting a new area, there are plenty of options for a guided hunt. Below are a list of area outfitters that do just that:
Safety & Survival Information
No matter which season, animal or weapon you decide to hunt, there are general safety guidelines you should always follow. These guidelines are good to follow anytime you’re in the forest, even if you’re not hunting. And if you lose your way, there are also some survival tips you should practice:
- Know the area you’re hunting
- Don’t rely solely on electronics
- Let somebody know where you will be hunting and when you will be returning
- Have a fire starter kit
- Watch the weather
- Know your general firearm safety and how to use your weapon appropriately
- Don’t perform an awkward action while trying to shoot, such as climb a tree or cross a fence
- Store ammunition and firearm separately
Big game is considered deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion and gray wolf. This season offers a variety of options depending on where you plan to hunt, which animal you’re after and which weapon you use. There are controlled hunting options, youth only options, private land permit options and so much more! If you’re new to the area and want to get know more about big game hunting options, check out the Idaho Fish & Game Brochure by clicking here.
Moose, Bighorn Sheep & Mountain Goat
Although these animals may seem like big game, they are separate due to different rules and regulations. All moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats are controlled only hunts in Idaho. That means you must apply for these tags and then a drawing occurs. There are only a certain number of tags per area so you are not guaranteed a tag, that’s why it’s called the lottery. If you are interested in obtaining one of these tags click here to read the Idaho Fish & Game Brochure. Please note, due to the smaller number of these types of animals, there are more rules and reporting requirements than other types of game. Interested in what your drawing odds would be, click here.
Idaho Migratory Game Bird
Birds included in this season include duck, geese, drove, crow and crane. There are different and multiple types of species included in the hunts. Check out the Idaho Fish & Game brochure by clicking here.
Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey
The Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey season includes grouse, quail, Chukar, Gray Partridge, pheasants, rabbits, hares and turkey with a different variety of some species. Certain varieties of the species are closed so you’ll want to know your bird if you choose to hunt. Learn how to identify which is which, as well as your limit and hunting dates by reading the Idaho Fish and Game brochure here.
The purchase of a home will likely be the biggest invest anybody will make in their life. Our homes are the centers of our lives because they hold everything and everyone important to us. Our top priorities are taking care of that invest. Winter is a harsh season here in North Idaho as a result it can cause some damage to our homes, properties, our loved ones, or even our wallets! It can be avoided if we take extra steps this fall or start of winter to prepare.
The next question is where do I start? Not knowing can be overwhelming and stressful. Below is just a small list of some important home maintenance ideas. Included is the reason you should do them. It can make a huge difference on your home and property this year.
- Windows & Doors ~Install cool weather storm windows & doors, repair and/or replace loose or damaged window or door frames and insert weather stripping or caulking around windows & doors. This will all keep your house better insulated through winter.
- Heating Systems ~ Replace the filter in your furnace and clean your ducts to help your furnace’s efficiency and help save money
- Plumbing ~ Be sure your pipes are well insulated to help avoid freezing. You’ll also want to know where the water shut off valve is in case your pipes do freeze. Be sure to remove hoses from hose bibs on your home in colder weather so that your bibs and frost fee bibs don’t freeze in the low temperatures, causing leaks in the warmer months.
- Ventilation ~ Check the eave vents to be sure it’s clear of insulation and other debris to prevent mold. Clean out your dryer vents to protect from possible ignition. Close your foundation vents durning the fall and winter to keep pipes in your crawl space from freezing.
- Safety Devices ~ Now is a good time of year to check all your safety devices to be sure you can make it through winter. Check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers, test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (changing the batteries if necessary) and test your home for radon.
- Gutters & Downspouts ~ Clean our your gutters and downspouts of debris to put a stop to any possible rot and to keep your gutters in proper working order
Chimney & Fireplace ~ Have a professional inspect & clean your chimney to help avoid chimney fires. Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when it’s closed to prevent water getting into your chimney.
- Landscaping & Outside Work ~ Trim any limbs that are close to power lines, cover or store your patio furniture, check your walkways, stairs and driveway for easier winter navigation. To help promote yard growth, you could fertilize and reseed your lawn as well as prune your trees and shrubs.
- Air Conditioners ~ If you have a window AC unit, be sure to remove it and store in a dry play before winter. Or cover your AC unit with a piece of plywood held down by bricks. This will help protect the unit from falling debris but also continue to allow airflow. You don’t want to put a waterproof cover over it during winter because it creates a warm environment which attracts unwanted guests.
Many enjoy Labor Day as a day off from work and the last bit of fun before summer ends. Many forget what it is we are celebrating… it was first created by the labor movement and is dedicated to the contributions and achievements of American workers. That day is set aside for the American worker to have a day of rest and to remember the importance of worker’s rights.
During the Industrial Revolution, many people were required to work 12 hour work days for 7 days a week just to make ends meet. In the late 1800’s, labor unions then became more active. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest the unfair wages, work environment and hours.
September 5th 1882 was the first Labor Day celebration. Many workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. 12 years later, on June 26th 1994, the American Railroad Union called to boycott all Pullman Railway cars. This caused a crippling of railroad traffic nationwide. To break this strike, the government sent troops to Chicago. This only caused a wave of riots and deaths of many workers. In an attempt to repair ties with the American workers, congress passed the act to make Labor Day a legal holiday. And on June 28th 1994, President Cleveland signed it into law.
Even after all this time, it is still unclear who the founder of the holiday is. Many credit Peter J. McGuire, the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, as the first to suggest it. But, many believe that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, was the first to propose the holiday.
Labor Day Celebrations & Traditions
The Labor Day celebration has transformed a bit over the years. When it was first celebrated, the focus was on a parade. This was meant to show to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” and then a festival to follow. As time went on, speeches by prominent people were introduced.
In recent years, the celebrations have really began to change. As parades have become ever more difficult in city centers, the day has focused more on relaxing and having fun before summer is over and kids are back to school.
A common Labor Day celebration in North Idaho is Fall Fest! at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. It’s a weekend filled with beer, wine, cider, live music, and a soda tent for the kids.
Many of us here in North Idaho use this last weekend of summer for family camping trips out in the National Forest. More about our National Forests
Boating on the lake is a special favorite of ours on this last weekend. Taking in all the sunshine we can and enjoying live on the lake before kids go back to school and we prepare for fall. More about Lake Coeur d’Alene
Others like to take advantage of all of the downtown events to choose from or just a weekend of shopping! Downtown CDA
No matter how you choose to celebrate Labor Day, enjoy your day off!
Buying your first home is a BIG DEAL. But it may not be as “scary” as you thought!
We have helped tons of first time home buyers get into their first homes. Time and time again, the concerns, misconceptions and fears we discuss are the same.
Here are just 3 we hear all the time and often the reasons buyers decide they need to wait or that it “just wont for for them”.
We are here to tell you, its not as hard you think and when you work with someone like us, we will get all of the questions answered and guide you through the process each step of the way. Believe us, whatever you worried about or are afraid to ask, we have dealt with it before and can help you too!
If you are curious about buying and want to know more, let’s connect! We are here to help you Make Awesome Happen.
Also be sure to watch our First Time Buyer Play List on YouTube for more helpful information about buying your first home.
The all-American classic: the burger. A lakeside town tucked in next to the Rockies is just the place you’d expect to have a great burger scene, and Coeur d’Alene does not disappoint.
Nosworthy’s Hall of Fame
Once again, Nosworthy’s is our favorite all around establishment. They are known for their burgers and they deliver every time. Everything is made to order, handcrafted goodness on a bun. The Mootz Sister and King Kong are some of our favorites. For a keto friendly meal, try the Hoss burger with no bun. It’s excellent! Be sure to come hungry too, as these burgers are quite the meal. We can’t say enough good things about Nosworthy’s. We love the food; we love the people there; and we just can’t get enough of our casual, old school Coeur d’Alene gathering spot!
Hudsons has been around for over 100 years. Their food is tasty and simple; they don’t need any extra flair! Their location in downtown Coeur d’Alene is quaint and comfortable. Their bar allows customers to watch as they hand slice pickles and onions for each burger. A double cheeseburger, taken to-go and eaten in the park is the perfect choice to fulfill those summer burger cravings. Despite being a very burgercentric restaurant, they also offer some great breakfast options and phenomenal pies for those with a sweet tooth! There’s a reason they’ve been voted top 10 across America for burgers…they are simply the best!
Located in Spirit Lake, Messy Burger has a great take on burgers. They provide big, bold flavors in their small little location on main street. The staff is always friendly and great at giving suggestions for what to order (there are A LOT of choices!) Their Drunken Cowboy and Southwest Mess are some of our favorite burgers there. Grab a burger with fries and fry sauce and take it to go, or dine outside at their outdoor picnic table seating. There’s a reason this place is rated #1 for quick bites in Spirit Lake!
Seasons of CDA
Seasons is one of the most upscale locations on our list. With live music, a large bar, and a beautiful interior, Seasons is firing on all cylinders. Their menu is quite diverse, with burger and non-burger options. All sauces for their burgers are made in house (we recommend their carmelized onion tarter!).Our favorite is the wonderful Kobe beef burger that is excellent with and without the bun. With a convenient location right in the heart of downtown, and fresh local ingredients, it’s a no-brainer!
If you are not looking you can drive right by this gem. Penny’s Pit is located in Rathdrum in a little strip mall next to a gas station. Based on the location, you might have some doubts, but trust us; this place is an absolute must-visit. Their burgers, sandwiches and really, anything you might like to order are out of this world. This very tiny establishment, run by a husband and wife team, makes all their food to order with fresh and tasty ingredients. Their portions are massive, so don’t worry about leaving hungry. It’s hard for us to pick favorites because we love everything on the menu, but some of the standouts to us are the Sinatra with gorgonzola cheese, the James Dean, and the Naked Lady (for our keto friends.) You truly can’t go wrong with anything you might order. Don’t miss out on this hidden gem!
As fire season continues, it’s good to take a moment and review some fire safety tips for both in the home and while outdoors. Having the basic knowledge may help prevent a home fire or a wildfire.
Below are 3 steps to follow when you have a fire outdoors:
- Picking Your Campfire Spot: Be sure you follow any rules or regulations if planning to build a pit in a campground. Ensure you pick a level spot and you are approximately 10-15 feet away from anything that could catch fire. This includes low hanging branches, trees/shrubs, and your own gear. Take the weather into account as well, for example if there will be high wind and which direction it’s going in. Make sure rocks line the pit so your fire stays within the boarder.
- While You Maintain Your Fire: Once your fire is going, do not add dangerous items such as aerosol cans, pressurized containers or aluminum cans. This items could explode, cause harmful fumes or shatter. Keep your fire at a manageable size. If it gets too large it could easily become out of hand with no way to put it out on your own. Also, always watch it. This is especially true if there are pets or children nearby. As a safety precaution, always have water close by.
- Extinguishing Your Fire: If possible, let you fire burn down to ash. Then, pour water over all the embers, not just the red ones, until the hissing sounds spots. You could also put dirt or sand over the fire, if water isn’t available. Continue adding the water or dirt/sand, stirring around with a shovel, until everything is cool. Never walk away or go to bed when your fire is still warm.
General Safety Tips to Help Prevent a Wildfire:
- Be careful while camping and using & fueling fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters. Make sure it’s cool before refueling. Do your best not to spill flammable liquids and store appropriately.
- Do not dispose of your cigarettes, matches or any smoking material out of a moving vehicle or anywhere near an area that could catch fire. Always put your cigarette out before disposing of it.
- When burning yard waste, avoid burning in windy conditions. Have a shovel, water and fire retardant nearby and avoid all flammable materials from your yard. Follow all fire rules, such as not letting the fire get out of hand, ALWAYS keep an eye on it and put it out completely before walking away.
- If you notice an unattended or out of control fire, contact your local fire department or 9-1-1.
- If using fireworks, consider wetting down the grass and surrounding areas before lighting them. Always have a bucket of water, garden hose or fire extinguisher ready nearby. Avoid lighting fireworks on a windy night.
Below is 6 ways to prevent a fire in your home and help to avoid injury:
- Smoke Alarms: Be sure you have the correct number of smoke alarms installed in your home. Test them once a month to ensure they are still is working order. Have spare batteries in your home so if the batteries die, you can replace them right away. Replace them at least once a year. Learn more about smoke alarms by clicking here, such as how many and where to install in your home.
- Fire Extinguishers: They are a good idea to have to put out a small fire in your home or garage. Go over the 5 different types of fire extinguishers to be sure you have the correct one. Be sure your fire extinguisher is checked and tested regularly by a professional. Also, make sure you know how to use the fire extinguisher by following the P.A.S.S. rule below:
- Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
- Teach Your Children the Basics: Don’t let them play with matches, candles or fire and teach them that it can be dangerous. Show your child what the smoke alarm sounds like and what to do when one goes off. If your child is old enough teach them not to touch a door knob if it’s hot, how to stop drop & roll, to crawl on the ground when they see smoke, and not to hide under a bed or in a closet if there is a fire. And if you have the opportunity, go to a fire station and have them meet a firefighter so they can be familiar with what they do and their gear.
- Create A Fire Escape Plan: Draw your home’s floor plan that shows all the windows & doors. Make a plan of escape and go over it with your family, be sure there are at least 2 ways to get out of ever room, if possible. Have a spot you meet your family once outside. And be sure to practice the plan at least twice a year. Click here for a printable sheet to draw out your escape.
- Create A Family Emergency Communication Plan: Be sure every family member knows who to contact in case they can not find one another. This goes for any type of emergency, not just a fire. Also, be sure everybody know how to properly use 9-1-1.
- Stay Safe When Grilling: Do not use your grill unless it’s away from siding, decking or anything that could catch fire. Make sure your children and pets remain at least 3 feet away from the grill when it’s in use. Always stay with your grill when using it and clean it regularly.
Although it’s impossible to guarantee a fire will never get started in your home or your camp fire never gets out of hand, taking the precautions and steps above can help avoid it from happening. Always stay safe!