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Dr. Jack Cohen, fire science researcher, with the USDA Forest Service shows an area against the home where debris accumulates. This home is particularly vulnerable due to the wood siding to the ground and open areas underneath the home where embers could land and ignite the home on fire. Photo submitted

Time to make your home defensible for fire season

With the warming weather and stay-at-home orders, what better time to start a defensible space project to get your home prepared for wildfire. Not only does the law require you to create defensible space in the 100-feet zone around your house, it is also about being a good neighbor, and doing your part to prevent a fire from taking hold on your property.

Where do you start? Sue McCourt, Plumas County Office of Emergency Services Fire Prevention Specialist has some ideas. “Starting at the house is the best place to begin. The first 5 feet can make a big impact on your home’s survival. How much flammable “stuff” do you have stored right up against your house or other buildings? Examples of flammables are cardboard, firewood, lumber stored next to the house, dead grass, weeds, pile of leaves or pine needles. As you walk around your home think about embers (fire brands) that can be carried by wind and travel up to a few miles ahead of the main fire. Embers can land right in those flammables that are stored next to your home. Pay close attention to the first 5 feet and start there.”

  • Check for pine needles and leaves may have accumulated right up against your home. These are the same areas that wind might deposit embers so check and clean this area often throughout fire season.
  • Keep gutters and roofs free of debris. Limb branches 10’ from your chimney.
  • Remove wood chips you may be using as mulch and replace with noncombustible mulch products, such as rock.
  • Lawns are great, but keep them well irrigated and trimmed.
  • If you must have plants near the home, be sure they are low-growing herbaceous (non-woody) plants and well watered.
  • Don’t forget about the deck! Keep it clear on top and underneath of any flammables.

For more information on preparing your home and property for wildfire go to Plumas Fire Safe Council at www.plumasfiresafe.org.

Go to the Readyforwildfire.org to learn more about creating defensible space and to download Cal Fire’s app.




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