Fire officials have begun to urge homeowners to take safety precautions for an early fire season.
Measures recommended by the National Interagency Fire Center to protect homes from wildfires:
-Use fire resistant material, such as tile, slate, sheet iron, aluminum, brick, or stone, when building a house.
-Treat existing materials, such as wood siding, cedar shakes, exterior wood paneling, or other highly combustible materials, with fire retardant chemicals.
-Regularly clean roof surfaces and gutters of pine needs, leaves and branches to avoid the accumulation of flammable materials.
-Remove portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the opening of any stove or chimney.
-Space landscape vegetation so that fire can not be carried to the house or surrounding vegetation.
-Keep tree branches 15 feet above the ground.
-Maintain a fuel break around the house.
-Dispose of stove or fireplace ashes and charcoal briquettes only after soaking them in a metal pail of water.
-Store gasoline in an approved safety can away from the house.
-Propane tanks should be far enough away for valves to be shut off in case of fire.
-All combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc., should be kept away from the house.
-Keep a garden hose connected at all times.
-Have fire tools handy such as, a ladder long enough to reach the roof, a shovel, a rake and a bucket for water.
-Each home should have at least two different entrance and exit routes.