Firefighting resources can get stretched thin this time of year as multiple brush fires break out. It’s important that homeowners do their part to mitigate the threat of wildfire by creating defensible space around their homes.

First and foremost, dead, dry and woody vegetation must be removed. Plant material near structures should be regularly irrigated and well maintained, ornamentals, low-growing fire retardant shrubs, low-growing turf and succulent ground cover. Most guidelines will encourage the use of native plant materials especially in non-irrigated areas. Avoid planting in large clusters. It’s best to create small planter beds or islands.

Here are a few guidelines for creating a defensible space to help reduce the spread of wildfires. Again, be sure to check with your local and state authorities for specific regulations in your area.

• Remove dead and overhanging branches.

• Remove any branches within 10 feet of chimney vent.

• Clean all dead leaves and needles from roof and gutters.

• Install a roof that meets the fire resistance classification of Class C or better.

• Cover chimney outlet with a nonflammable screen of 1/4 inch or smaller mesh. Brand Guard Vents are a great alternative.

• Stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from all structures, fences, and other combustible material.

• Remove all stacks of construction materials, pine needles, leaves and other debris.

• Keep lawn chairs, umbrellas, and other canvas furniture a safe distance from structures

• Clear all vegetation and other combustible or flammable materials from beneath deck area.

• Enclose underside of elevated decks with resistant materials.

• Refrain from dumping lawn clippings in canyons.

• Identify at least two exit routes from your neighborhood.

• Make sure street names and house numbers are clearly visible.

• Designate an emergency meeting place outside your neighborhood.

• Immediately evacuate the area when ordered by police or fire personnel.

Contact your local Fire Department for additional information.

Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

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