USDA Says May is Wildfire Awareness Month

Hillside on fire with house nearby in foreground.
While some communities are well-prepared for wildfires, others that have not historically experienced wildfires are not. Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Juneau, Alaska (USDA) – In many communities across the country, people fear the potential return of wildfires each year.

They watch green spaces dry out and share stories about how they saw flames on a distant ridgetop in previous years and wondered how close they would get to their home.

These communities often proactively prepare for the onset of the wildfire year and work hard to enhance their wildfire defenses.  

In other parts of the country, people watch wildfires from the safety of their living room on television, miles away from the places where wildfires happen often. Although sympathetic, they are free from the annual concerns of being evacuated from their homes, the health impacts of wildfire smoke and the general worry of, “Will our home be next?”

The people who live in these communities barely give wildfire preparedness a thought. Until recently.

The wildfire landscape is changing

The public information officers on the Southern Area Complex Incident Management Gold Team have spent many assignments sharing information about nearby wildfires in communities like the first one outlined above.

But, more recently, the team is getting sent to areas that have never suffered the impacts of wildfires.  

With the growing impacts of climate change, the ever-increasing development in the wildland urban interface, and a historical lack of wildfire in many areas, understanding how to prevent and prepare for wildfires is becoming more and more relevant nationwide.

May is National Wildfire Awareness Month.

Although wildfires may not often happen where you live, it is important to understand the wildfire risks and what one can do to prevent and be prepared for wildfires.

For more information on wildfire safety in Alaska, Visit