Thursday, 03 May 2007 00:31

Wildfire Awareness Week

slide32With record low rainfall increasing the risk of wildfires statewide, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared May 6-12 Wildfire Awareness Week. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) will host public events throughout the state to educate Californians about wildfire safety and preparedness. The single most effective measure foothill and mountain property owners can take to protect their property from a wildfire is to clear a “Defensible Space” free of dry grass, brush, and all flammable vegetation for a distance of 100 feet around their home and other buildings.  Defensible Space not only helps to protect your property from a wildfire, but also provides a safe area for firefighters to do their job.   Wildfire Awareness Week is designed to remind all Californians that we each have the ability and responsibility to make our homes “Fire Safe”. 

That’s the message the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) and the local Fire Safe Councils are taking statewide in Wildfire Awareness Week.  Wildfire Awareness Week comes just as CAL FIRE prepares for the upcoming fire season, and is a time for wildland homeowners to take seriously their role as part of the CAL FIRE team. Steps to creating a fire safe environment include removing dead vegetation, thinning live vegetation and pruning trees.  Within the first 30 feet remove everything that is dead:  dead trees, branches and brush, all dry grass, leaves and pine needles from ground level to roof tops.  Beyond 30 feet, remove all dead trees and brush.  Dry, cut grass, leaves and pine needles may stay on the ground, 3”– 4” deep.  Thin and separate live vegetation and continuous shrub masses, which will interrupt fire’s path.  Prune trees, removing limbs at least six feet; more on slopes.  Be able to walk under trees. Unless homeowners have done their part by clearing Defensible Space around their homes, firefighting resources may never have a chance to save homes.  For further tips on fire safety, contact your nearest CAL FIRE station, local fire department, and Fire Safe Council.