Wildfire season 2019 is just around the corner.
Defensible Space Zone
Although we had a lot of rain this winter, all that moisture means more plans growing and creating fuel for fires. Now is the time to create defensible space around your home.
- Properly thin and prune trees and shrubs within the defensible space.
- Dispose of branches and debris from tree/shrub thinning.
- Stack firewood uphill from or on the same elevation as any structures, or at least 30 feet away from structures.
- Screen attic, roof, eaves and foundation vents, and periodically check them to ensure that they are in good condition.
- Screen or wall-in stilt foundations and decks; screens should be 1/8-inch or smaller metal mesh (1/16-inch mesh is best).
- Post signs at the end of the driveway with your last name and house number that are noncombustible, reflective and easily visible to emergency responders.
- Make sure that the driveway is wide enough for fire trucks to enter and exit, and that trees and vegetation are adequately cleared for access by fire and emergency equipment.
- These tasks should be performed at least once a year:
- Clear roof, deck, and gutters of leaves and other debris.
- Mow grass and weeds to a height of 6 inches or less. (Only on fire weather safe days – check with the Pala Fire Department).
- Rake all leaves and other flammable debris away from the foundation of your home and deck.
- Remove trash and debris accumulations from the defensible space.
- Check fire extinguishers to ensure that they are not expired and are in good working condition.
- Check chimney screens to make sure they are in place and in good condition.
- Remove branches that overhang the roof and chimney.
- Complete a checklist of fire safety needs inside your home. Examples include having an evacuation plan and maintaining smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.
- Develop your fire evacuation plan and practice family fire drills. Ensure that all family members are aware of and understand escape routes, meeting points and other emergency details.
- Contact your county sheriff’s office and ensure that your home telephone number and other important phone numbers appear in the county’s Reverse 911 or other emergency notification database.
- Prepare a “grab and go” disaster supply kit that will last at least three days, containing your family’s and pets’ necessary items, such as cash, water, clothing, food, first aid and prescription medicines.
- Ensure that an outdoor water supply is available. If it is safe to do so, make a hose and nozzle available for responding firefighters. The hose should be long enough to reach all parts of the house.
- Don’t wait, it will be too late when smoke is in the air.