Sacramento, CA – Drought conditions and increased fire activity has CalFire calling on homeowners to work on defensible space now. Fire Officials say 2013 was a busy fire season with some historical blazes like the Rim Fire. They caution this year with record low rainfall, the grass and brush across California is tinder dry and ready to burn.
Cal Fire Spokesperson Daniel Berlant explains, “Already this year, CAL FIRE has responded to nearly 300 wildfires that have charred over 700 acres. Last year there were no fires at this time.”
In a normal year, Cal Fire reports firefighters only responded to about 50 fires in this same three-week period that would char a little over 100 acres. In Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties there have been nine fires from January 1 thru January 18 burning two acres. They note this is already triple the average, which is two fires and two acres.
Although it is only January, Cal Fire wants homeowners to act as if it is August. Berlant says, “These are conditions we have not seen in a decade, and as a result, we’ve already started to increase our staffing much earlier than usual. We really need the public to do their part as well and preparing ahead of time.” Cal Fire reminds residents to maintain a 100 feet of Defensible Space
Here are some tips to creating Defensible Space:
• Maintain 100 feet of Defensible Space around all structures. • Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters. • Trim branches six 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 woodpiles and flammable materials at least 30 feet from the home.
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.