Wednesday, April 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Drought conditions lead to early need of defensible space

By
From page A3 | January 27, 2014 | 8 Comments

SACRAMENTO — In just the first three weeks of January, Cal Fire has already responded to a significant increase in wildfires this winter due to the extremely dry conditions. As a result, Cal Fire officials are reminding residents to ensure they are maintaining 100 feet of defensible space; a reminder that comes several months earlier than normal.

“We are experiencing conditions right now that we would usually see in August,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, Cal Fire director. “In Southern California we never really transitioned out of fire season and in Northern California we are already in the process of hiring additional seasonal firefighters to augment our permanent firefighters who have been staffing extra fire equipment this winter. We have increased our personnel and now we need the public to make sure they, too, are prepared for early fire season conditions.”

With record low rainfall, the grass and brush across California is tinder dry and ready to burn. Already this year Cal Fire has responded to nearly 300 wildfires that have charred over 700 acres. In a normal year the department only responds to about 50 fires that all together would char a little over 100 acres.

Many of these fires have been sparked by powered equipment like lawn mowers and weed trimmers. While maintaining Defensible Space is critical right now, residents are asked not to use powered equipment outdoors during the heat of the day when it’s dry and windy, and especially on Red Flag Warning Days.

Clearance work should be done in the early morning when temperatures are down and humidity is up, to avoid sparking a wildfire. One less spark means one less wildfire.

Defensible space tips:

• 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 away from roofs and 10 feet from 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.

The increased fire threat has also led officials to suspend outdoor residential landscape debris burning in many areas. Homeowners should always check with their local Cal Fire station or fire department before burning outdoors. There are several alternative ways to dispose of trimmed branches and yard clippings including chipping, or taking it to a green waste facility. Residents can check with their local fire safe council for alternative landscape debris disposal programs.

For more information on preparing for wildfires and defensible space visit ReadyForWildfire.org.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

  • observerJanuary 24, 2014 - 10:28 pm

    So do we disregard an earlier warning to NOT clear defensible space? SMH .

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • cookie65January 27, 2014 - 5:24 am

    Exactly, they just issued an advisory for all the people who don't know which shoe goes on which foot NOT to clear a defensible space. I posted it here on the MD site. We are seriously overcharged for all these experts, like the ones who have drained folsom lake for no explainable reason.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Martin W.January 27, 2014 - 8:59 am

    The warning was asking people to hold off with power tools and other equipment during the Red Flag Weather conditions. You need to read the article, not just the headlines. Clearly, we all need to be diligent in maintaining our property. KCRA changed the headlines shortly after the initial release of the article.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • cookie65January 27, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Exactly, people who don't know which shoe goes on which foot and people who need a disclaimer on their Costco crockpot flyer telling them food not included. I read the article and your account of it isn't totally accurate. http://www.kcra.com/news/cal-fire-asks-rural-homeowners-not-to-clear-defensible-space/-/11797728/24067948/-/fnwmk5/-/index.html

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  • The 1% SolutionJanuary 27, 2014 - 10:37 pm

    Bullseye cookie, the logic goes like this: everyone knows that if told not to do something the five year old will make it a priority to do it. It's calfires ' way of insuring cooperation. Now it's back to business as usual. The folsom lake draining is an environmentist evolution engineering program to create fish that breath air and walk on land.....you know, democratic voters.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mark C.January 28, 2014 - 8:10 am

    Unreal. No one told people NOT to have defensible space. If they did, you're not using your brain if you think that meant to do nothing. It said to use every caution when using 'lawnmowers' to clear brush or equipment that causes sparks. We've had very few 'burn days' as it is but it seems some folks living in the country and mountains, shouldn't. Use your head.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • cookie65January 28, 2014 - 10:00 am

    From the link I posted. ~~ "Fire officials request that homeowners hold off on activities such as mowing until after the first good rain." ~~ http://www.kcra.com/news/cal-fire-asks-rural-homeowners-not-to-clear-defensible-space/-/11797728/24067948/-/fnwmk5/-/index.html#ixzz2riWj3vY0

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The 1% SolutionJanuary 28, 2014 - 7:33 pm

    Mark as usual the advice is too little too late this should have been stressed after the first snow storm, but because of our "experts" we are now being advised to clear without even a hint of green new growth......nearly every day, burn day or not socalled controlled burns are getting away from people who shouldn't be flipping a light switch let alone tending a fire. And you think they're going to read an article?. These are people that buy a table from ikea and think the instructions are to be used as a shim so it won't wobble.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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