It’s a question that has been on everyone’s mind lately, because new fires are on the rise.
While the National Fire Protection Association says fires are going down slightly, that is not the entire story.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2015 there were a record-high 5.3 million fires nationwide, and this year there have been a record 9.7 million.
That’s an average of about 20 fires per day.
Some of those fires have been burning out of control, such as the one that burned out of Control and started a wildfire on a farm in Texas, destroying homes and property and forcing the evacuation of over a thousand people.
These fires have caused millions of dollars in property damage and led to at least four fatalities, according to the fire marshal’s office.
But there are also many instances where firefighters have stopped a blaze before it reaches critical mass, saving lives.
“We don’t always stop a fire from spreading, but we certainly have a better chance to do so,” said Capt. Brian Pincus, who oversees the operations of the Firefighter Safety Center at the National Guard Armory in New Orleans.
In other words, you can stop a blaze from spreading if you have the right tools and training.
“Our primary goal is to keep firemen safe and the environment safe,” Pincsus said.
He added that there is also a higher chance that a fire will reach critical mass if the fire department has the proper equipment, training and equipment.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure we can control the fire, but also keep it from spreading,” Pince said.
The main tool that is most important is the firefighter.
Pincson says that is where it gets really complicated, because the majority of the time the fire is going to be a natural phenomenon.
“If it’s a forest fire, the main thing that happens is that it’ll start out in the middle of a forest, and it will be burning out to the ground,” Pinch said.
“The next thing that’s going to happen is that a couple of hundred trees will start burning up in the air, and the next thing you know, the whole forest is engulfed in flames.”
The firefighter needs to have the appropriate gear and training, including proper gloves, a protective mask and a protective hat.
“A lot of times it’s just the firefighters themselves that are going to have to do the work of keeping the fire from getting out of hand,” Pine said.
Pinch adds that it’s important to be on the lookout for suspicious situations.
“It’s usually pretty easy to spot an arsonist if you’re a firefighter and there’s a lot of smoke coming from the back of a vehicle or something like that,” he said.
But it can be a much more dangerous situation if the suspect isn’t paying attention to the direction the fire should be moving.
“You can’t go around and make sure you don’t get burned,” Pinches said.
So if you are ever at risk, Pincss said, “stay focused on your fire department, stay focused on the job you’re doing and keep your eyes open.”
Pincosse says it’s crucial to be alert to suspicious circumstances.
“There’s always the possibility that you might get into an accident, and you have to be aware of what’s going on,” Piscs said.
If you’re unsure about a potential arson incident, Pinch recommends that you always be wearing a fire extinguisher or a fire jacket.
“And when you see a firefighter wearing a hat, don’t take it as a threat,” Pitch said.
However, PINCSAVES says you should always use a good sense of caution when approaching fires and even at night.
“Don’t be alarmed if there are suspicious people walking around, because it’s not like they’re going to find a way to sneak up on you,” PINCS said.