Mother Lode Fire Information – Living With Fire
Living with Fire Series
This series of articles, written by Bill Frost, Past Natural Resource Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension and Mark Hicks, Past Project Manager, El Dorado County Resource Conservation District, is rich with history, tips and advice. MyMotherLode.com was the source for local information during the Rim Fire and the Butte Fire. If you live in the Mother Lode or are contemplating moving here, please take the time to read each section, but in short wildfire risk reduction in 10 Safety Tips:
Action Items to Improve Your Home’s Survivability:
- REMOVE leaves, pine needles, and other flammable material from the roof, gutters, and on and under any decks to help prevent embers from igniting your home.
- SCREEN areas below decks and porches with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent material from accumulating underneath.
- COVER exterior attic and soffit vents with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent sparks from entering your home.
- ENCLOSE eaves to help prevent ember entry.
- INSPECT shingles or roof tiles. Replace missing shingles or tiles and cover the ends of tiles with bird stops or cement to help prevent ember penetration during a wildfire.
Tips for Landscaping Around Your Home
- REMOVE dead vegetation and other flammable materials, especially within the first 5 feet of the home.
- KEEP your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to help reduce fire intensity.
- PRUNE tree limbs so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet above the ground to help reduce the chance of fire getting into the crowns of the trees.
- MOVE construction material, trash, and woodpiles at least 30 feet away from the home and other
- DISPOSE of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings that you have cut to reduce fuel for a fire.
For the full list of the resources for chipping and garden debris disposal, in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties. Sites include Sonora, Ponderosa Hills, Copperopolis, Milton, Valecito, and Wilseyville. Read our Tuolumne County Master Gardeners news story about different types of mulch.
Foothill residents need to work on fireproofing their properties for fire season. Additionally, the Calfire will be out inspecting for fire breaks around all buildings on any mountainous or forest, brush or grass-covered land. California law requires that homeowners in State Responsibility Area (SRA) clear out flammable materials such as brush or vegetation around their buildings to 100 feet (or the property line) to create a defensible space buffer. This helps halt the progress of an approaching wildfire and keeps firefighters safe while they defend your home.
Some suggested check lists to help you prepare for an evacuation.
Defensible space is the base around your home that will give firefighters a fighting chance against fire. It means clearing all dry grass, brush and dead leaves at least 30 feet from your home, and at least 150 feet if you’re on a hill.
The key here is “at least.” Your local fire department may ask for greater clearance. Contact them for requirements in your area. Defensible space and a fire safe landscape don’t mean a ring of bare dirt around your home.
Keep these 10 tips in mind before you leave home as well as on the trail to make for an enjoyable outdoor experience during fire season!
Creating permanent defensible space is a progressive strategy that may take a few years. Each year, steadily remove the overgrown, fire hazardous plants and replace them with fire resistant, well distributed plants. As you begin growing firesafe view screens, for example, you might wait until you have an effective screen before completely removing some of the hazardous plants that currently provide privacy.
The Sierra Nevada, with their rugged terrain and majestic forests create wonderful views and peaceful living environment. But with the characteristic dry summers they also create extremely severe wildfire conditions.
Due to excessive amounts of fuel that have built up in forest, woodlands, and rural subdivisions fire can no longer be allowed to perform its ecological role.
This series of articles, written by Bill Frost, Past Natural Resource Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension and Mark Hicks, Past Project Manager, El Dorado County Resource Conservation District, is rich with history, tips and advice.
When you’re removing and reducing vegetation, the question that is commonly asked is, “What do I do with all of this debris?” If you are doing things right, you can expect some large debris piles – fire hazards in themselves. There are many options for managing this debris, among them are chipping, burning and pile distribution.