Use that extra hour to start your wildfire defense

All you need to start defending your home from wildfire www.firewise.org
All you need to start defending your home from wildfire http://www.firewise.org

We gain an hour of evening daylight this weekend, as Daylight Savings Time comes into effect. Why not use that extra hour of unseasonable sunshine to protect your home, family and community?

How does your yard look right now? Has your grass grown? Do you notice all the green foliage around your property? All of that green undergrowth will dry out in the hot summer months, turning into fuel that can put your property at risk of wildfire.

Today, we’re starting with the simple basics. What can you do this weekend to protect your home in only one hour? Pick just one of these chores to get started.

If you only have one hour:

  • Clean up the brush: Reducing brush appears to be the most important factor for success. You want to have a zone with at least 30 feet of space immediately around your home that is free from ignition hazards presented by vegetation and combustible construction. This not only helps protect your home, but also gives firefighters a safer place to fight the fire.
  • Rake the leaves: Leaf accumulation provides fuel for wildland fires.
  • Mow the lawn: The grass around the house can tend to grow tall and unruly during the wet winter months. These grasses dry out and provide a path for the fire that can lead directly to your house.
  • Clean the gutters and the roof: Make sure you remove all dead leaves and pine needles from your gutters, roof, and from around your home. This debris left from the winter weather is highly combustible and is like a fire starter for your home.
  • Clean under the deck: Keep the surface and area beneath decks and porches free of debris and leaves.
  • Stack firewood away from the house: Many people make the mistake of keeping firewood stacked close to the house for easy access. If a spark lands in your wood pile it could ignite your house. Make sure you stack wood at least 30 feet away from structures to help protect them from wildfire.
  • Trim trees and brush back from structures: Remove all dead or overhanging branches. During the windy conditions that exist during a wildland fire, flames, sparks, and firebrands could travel from your trees to the roof of your home.
  • Limb trees up to 10 feet from the ground: Limbing your trees up will help reduce the chances that a fire on the ground will spread into tree tops – this is especially important if your property has lots of trees.
  • Dispose of cuttings and debris properly: Dispose of your yard waste properly, and make sure you don’t leave it piled near the house in the back yard. That defeats the purpose of all the work you did.

Making the effort to reduce your home’s vulnerability to wildfire today could really pay off if a wildfire comes through your area.

For additional tips on how to reduce the risk of wildfire to your community, home and family, log on to www.firewise.org.

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