Prepare for wildfires with ‘pre-fire’ techniques – Chico Enterprise-Record

0

OROVILLE — Pre-fire management includes actions such as clearing defensible space, planting and maintaining fire-safe landscaping and creating fuel breaks all of which can reduce home and property losses, fire-fighting costs and increase safety for both the public and firefighters.

“We realized after the Camp Fire just how important it is to have true defensible space, regardless of boundaries, everyone needs to have 100 feet of defensible around their homes, outbuildings and property,” said Sue Beeler, defensible space inspector for Cal Fire-Butte County.

Having defensible space around homes and other structures not only increases the chance that homes and property can be saved from fire but it’s also required by California Law PRC 4291 and the Butte County Chapter 38A Fire Prevention and Protection Ordinance.

Defensible space doesn’t mean stripping down bare earth or pouring cement over everything. There are ways to mitigate fire hazards within a 100 foot radius of homes and other structures including planning your landscaping to eliminate a continuous path of vegetation, or “fire ladder,” that will carry wildfire to your home or other buildings.

“Often one hazard leads to another to create a continuous path for fire to travel. Reducing the continuous fuel path stops the fire before it gets to a home or gives us the chance to mitigate the fire before it hits a structure,” said Beeler.

While 100 feet of defensible space is mandatory, the “ember resistant zone” which extends 5 feet from buildings, structures and deck and the “lean, clean and green zone” which extends 30 feet from buildings, structure and decks are critical.

Some basic measures to mitigate fire risk in these two zones include:

  • Use fire-resistant plants, native species, green lawn, rock, stone and sand – not mulch — in landscaping
  • Choose low-growing, high moisture plants such as flowers, ground cover, green lawns etc.
  • Remove plants and shrubs near windows, below eves and around and under decks
  • Keep ground, decks, roofs and gutters free of leaves and needles
  • Keep lower branches of trees trimmed within six feet of the ground and trimmed at least 10 feet from roofs and chimneys.

“The 5-foot zone is the essential ember ignition zone. This is where embers can land, get stuck and billow. This is the zone where if embers do land, they are likely to ignite what is flammable,” said Beeler.

Beeler said there are other things that people just don’t think about that can also be hazardous including dry rot around doors and windows.

“It’s already seasoned wood and it’s ready to ignite,” she said.

Other potential risks include natural fiber door mats, brooms, empty cardboard delivery boxes, fire wood, wood planters, dead and dry leaves beneath shrubs and trees, wicker furniture or fabric-covered furniture and wooden fences attached to or near homes.

“A lot of research went into ordinance 38A. We learned a lot from the Camp Fire including that a lot of the things now required weren’t in place and it led to fire consuming a lot of homes. While the ordinance doesn’t include wooden fences attached to structures, they were a factor in the Camp Fire,” said Beeler.

Keeping travel ways including roads and driveways cleared at least 10 feet on either side of all flammable vegetation is also critical.

“Travelways are a big factor. In the Camp Fire we had people trapped in cars. They couldn’t flee and we lost lives because the vegetation was on fire on both sides of them. Keeping travel ways clear became part of the ordinance after the Camp Fire. People have to be able to evacuate safely and we have to be able to get our engines in to help them,” said Beeler.

To create true defensible space takes “neighbors helping neighbors,” said Beeler

“If only a few people doing their part that puts everyone at jeopardy everywhere but especially in areas where there are small lots, like those in Paradise, Magalia and east Oroville, with vegetation between the homes. That vegetation becomes fuel. It takes the community working together and maintaining land to make fire safe,” said Beeler.

Part of Beeler’s job is to educate property owners and assist them with creating a pre-fire plan. Beeler can visit properties, provide owners specific information on what to do to mitigate fire hazards; how to fire harden homes; and, create an action plan to create defensible space.

“People can always request an inspection. It’s good to have us come out so we can help you with a plan of action. Our program is about education and trying to get people to change how they maintain their property basically throughout the year. Defensible space needs to be integrated into your lifestyle like doing the dishes or laundry or going grocery shopping. It doesn’t have to be hard if you do something every day,” said Beeler.

For more information about creating and maintain defensible space Beeler suggests these websites; www.readyforwildfire.orgwww.buttefiresafe.netwww.buttecounty.net/fire; and, www.fire.ca.gov.

To arrange an inspection consultation of your property or to report a hazardous property call 530-354-4485.

FOLLOW us ON GOOGLE NEWS

 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! My droll is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment