OKLAHOMA CITY -- Thousands of homes may be at risk from wildfires each year. Research has shown that when homes are adequately prepared before a wildfire starts, their chances for withstanding a wildfire increases dramatically. The following tips will help slow the spread of a grass fire should one occur and should be used in conjunction with a fire safety and evacuation plan to help you protect yourself, your home and its surroundings from fire.

Three Major Causes of grassfires in Oklahoma City are:

* Smoking material thrown from vehicles

* Trash burning

* Children playing with fire

Safety tips:

* Cigarettes should go in the ashtray, not out the car window

* Trash burning within the Oklahoma City limits is illegal

* Keep matches and lighters away from children

Tips For Making Your Property Fire Resistant

1. Create a "Safe Zone" by thinning trees and brush within 30 feet of your home. 30 feet is a minimum safe distance, extend it further if possible.

2. Keep lawns trimmed very low. Rake and remove dead leaves often.

3. All tree limbs inside your "Safe Zone" should be cut at least 6 feet above the ground.

4. Remove all combustible shrubs, (cedars, sage; etc.), that are within 20 feet of your home and from underneath trees inside your "Safe Zone".

5. All porch, floor, roof, or attic openings should be enclosed or screened-off to keep embers and sparks from entering the structure. Use wire-mesh screen with openings no wider than one-eighth inch.

6. Keep roofs and rain-gutters free from debris such as leaves and dead limbs. Consider installing gutter guards if possible.

7. Stack firewood at least 30 feet away, downhill, from your home.

8. Store flammable materials, liquids and solvents in metal containers outside the home at least 30 feet away from structures and wooden fences.

9. Landscape your property with fire resistant plants and vegetation to prevent fire from spreading quickly.

10. Post home-address signs, which are clearly visible from the road.

11. Provide emergency vehicle access with properly constructed driveways and roadways, at least 12 feet wide with adequate turnaround space.

12. Replace wood shingle roofs with less combustible roofing as soon as possible.

13. Burning yard waste is a fire hazard. Check with your local fire agency for fire permit requirements and restricted burning times.

14. Keep all fire hydrants free from foliage and shrubs. If you spot a violation of this and live in Oklahoma City, call the Action Line, 297-2535

15. If you spot a grass fire, do not attempt to fight the fire, immediately call 911 for assistance.

16. Use caution with outdoor cooking

17. Do not burn illegally. You must have a permit for outdoor burning.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department also reminds all citizens to have a working smoke detector in their home. Oklahoma City citizens may contact their nearest Oklahoma City Fire Station or the Oklahoma City Fire Department's Public Education section at 297-3318 for a free battery or smoke detector and installation.