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There was a fire near Los Angeles just last month. One night that month, there was a layer of thick cloud cover over the city. This trapped the fire's smoke and kept it from escaping into the atmosphere. The imprisoned smoke poured down over the hills into the Greater Los Angeles area. The air was rancid and people who lived mid-city could smell and taste the smoke when they'd go outside.

Wildfires are a part of the natural cycle. Lightning strikes. Old growth is burnt away, so young plants can push through and have their shot at life. This may be true, but the natural cycle never planned on cigarette butts or frat boys gathered around a campfire. Wildfires don?t just pollute the air, they also destroy property and possessions, costing us valuable resources. Here are some wildfire prevention tips.

1. Smoking Don't smoke. That's the best advice. But if you do smoke, use the ashtray in your car. Never throw butts out the window. Smoke only on concrete or on naked, brushless dirt. Put your cigarette out on something nonflammable. Never put it out on a stump. Don?t discard matches until the match is cold.

2. Campfires At campsites, build campfires only in appropriate locations. In the wild, dig a pit and circle that pit with rocks. Never build a fire next to a pile of leaves or an old, dry stump or next to a deadfall of desiccated branches. Keep a shovel and water nearby. Stack all flammables—newspapers, spare wood, etc.—upwind of the fire. Douse fire thoroughly with water and/or cover it with dry dirt to extinguish flames. Don?t discard matches that might still be live.

3. Homes Clear away all flammable debris. Make a 100-foot perimeter around your home. Wooden fences are bad. Wooden shingles are also bad. Keep building materials near your domicile. If you have a lawn, keep it green and lush. Build your home using fire resistant materials. Make sure that firefighters can find you home if you live in a secluded area. Check your smoke detector to make sure that it works properly and has batteries. Plan an escape route.