The rising temperatures have residents spending more time outside, whether it’s sprucing up the yard or enjoying recreational activities. However, these unseasonably hot conditions have local firefighters responding to more grass fires. Fire officials are asking the public to exercise caution to help prevent grass fires.
Here are some things you can do to prevent a grass fire.
Yard Debris Removal
If however, you decide to burn the debris, please follow these burning guidelines to minimize the chance of starting a fire.
Keep grass and vegetation irrigated and well maintained. Grass fires are usually very fast spreading fires; cut tall grass before fire season begins.
During the summer months, activities that carry a high risk of starting a fire are regulated; mowing dry grass is one of these. Keep advised of these restrictions by visiting:
Maintain a ten foot area free of vegetation and other flammable material around the barbecues and grills. When cooking, never leave the barbecue unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher or water close by. Completely cool the coals in a bucket of water before disposing of them.
Portable Fire Pits
Position the fire pit in area clear of flammable vegetation or combustible material, ten feet clearance. Place the pit on a level ground to reduce the chance of tipping. Never leave the pit unattended. Have a fire extinguisher or water close at hand. Make sure the coals are completely cold before leaving.
Camping and Campfires
When available use designated campfire pits in established campgrounds. Never leave campfires unattended, and make sure they are out cold before leaving the campsite. Know the regulations for the area you are camping in. Avoid parking vehicles in dry grass or vegetation; exhaust systems can reach temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees (more than enough to start a fire).
If a fire does start immediately call 9-1-1, and try to safely extinguish the fire.
It’s that time of year again. Rising temperatures signify fire season is right around the corner. Now is the time to ask yourself, “am I prepared?”
Here are some preparations you can make to help you protect your home from the threat of wildfire.
Create/Maintain a Defensible Space
Home and Outbuildings:
- Keep rooftops and gutters free of flammable debris.
- Remove all dead branches overhanging the roof and vegetation within 10 feet of chimneys.
- Prune vegetation coming in contact with windows and the side of the structure.
- Screen in all vents and soffits with 1/8 inch metal screening.
- Remove all combustible material out from under decks.
- Store firewood and lumber piles a minimum of 30 feet away from all structures or in an enclosed storage area.
- Keep vegetation around the structure well irrigated during the warmer months.
- Remove dead vegetation and ladder fuels (vegetation that can carry a fire from ground level into trees).
- Rake leaves and other yard debris.
- Address signs should visible, clear of vegetation, posted roadside and at all intersections of your driveway.
- Reflective signs are available through your local fire department.
- Make sure you have a 12 ft wide drivable surface, and 13 ½ ft vertical clearance
- Have a fuel break that extends 10 ft on each side of the center of your driveway, for a total of 20 ft.
- For long driveways, consider creating turnouts for oncoming traffic.
- Make sure water crossings and culverts are in good repair and will support the weight of heavy fire apparatus.
- You should have a turnaround area at your home with at least a 30 ft radius.
- If possible, plan an alternate escape route from your home.
Family and Pets:
- Establish an emergency plan for family members and pets. Include sheltering and an arranged emergency kit in your plan.
- Get acquainted with your neighbors; discuss special considerations of the elderly or disabled in your neighborhood. Create a phone tree for emergency purposes.
Remember, planning ahead can increase the survivability of your loved ones and your home. Every second counts, and the more accessible your home is the better chance firefighters have of protecting it.
Home Ignition Zone
According to Firewise.org, the "home ignition zone" includes the home and the area immediately surrounding, that with proper conditioning can increase the survivability of your home during a wildfire.
Performing a home ignition zone assessment is an easy way to identify hazards and reduce the threat a wildfire may have on your home. Residents can easily perform the assessment on their own, however, if assistance is desired you may contact your local fire department to schedule an appointment for a professional evaluation.
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