Drought conditions lead to early need for defensible space around homes

Feather Publishing

Already this year, CalFire has responded to nearly 300 wildfires that have charred more than 700 acres, reports the agency. As a result, CalFire officials are reminding residents to ensure they are maintaining 100 feet of defensible space, a reminder that comes several months earlier than normal.

Drought resources available


Federal low-interest loans:
Plumas-Sierra Ag Commissioner Tim Gibson, 283-6365
Livestock assistance:
UC Cooperative Extension, Holly George, 283-6270
Grazing allotments and stock water use with U.S. Forest Service:
Mohawk Ranger District, Deb Bumpus, 836-2575
Sierraville Ranger District, Quentin Youngblood, 994-3401
Financial assistance for hauled water:
Natural Resource Conservation District, Dan Martynn, 283-7511
USDA Farm Service Agency:
Debi Michaels, 257-1427
Fire prevention:
Shane Vargas, 283-9322
Water conservation tips:

When clearing around a home, residents should work in the early morning when temperatures are down and humidity is up, to avoid sparking a wildfire.

CalFire offers additional tips to creating defensible space:

—Maintain 100 feet of defensible space around all structures.

—Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters.

—Trim branches 6 feet from the ground.

—Landscape with fire-resistant/drought-tolerant plants that require little water.

—Remove branches near roofs and within 10 feet of the chimney.

—Use trimming, mowing and powered equipment before 10 a.m., and not on hot, windy days.

—Keep wood piles and flammable materials at least 30 feet from the home.

There are several ways to dispose of trimmed branches and yard clippings, including chipping or taking it to a green waste facility. Those who choose to burn their yard debris should make sure to burn safely:

—Call the local air pollution control district to ensure it’s a permissive burn day.

—Don’t burn piles larger than 4 feet in diameter.

—Clear all flammable material and vegetation 10 feet around the edge of the burn pile.

—Have a water supply at the burning site.

—Keep informed on local weather and don’t burn on windy days.

—Always remain in attendance until the fire is “dead out.”

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