Don’t think the defensible-space strategy to prevent wildfire damage can save homes? Take a look at this photo where a homeowner’s advance planning helped keep the residence and outbuildings intact in the Cowiche Mill Fire. The fire, about 3 miles north of Yakima in late July, burned more than 6,000 acres of brush and range land on land in the West Valley Fire Department jurisdiction.
Several of the steps recommended by DNR, West Valley and other fire agencies are seen here. They include: trees and brush trimmed back from structures, trees limbed up to 10 feet from the ground, access and escape routes for firefighters and residents, and fire-resistant landscaping. Flammable materials (fuels), wooden fences, clogged gutters, and cedar shake roofs, are not seen on the exterior of these buildings — OK, one of the buildings is hidden by some neatly trimmed trees, but you can take our word for it!
Dozens of small rural communities in Washington State take part in the national Firewise program. In at least two cases, graduating high school seniors made community fire safety into senior culminating projects: one in Pierce County and another in King County.
Visit DNR’s fire information page for more prevention tips.
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