The topic for this month is about what you’re seeing all around the community in abundance during and after this year’s monsoon season, which is wild grass and desert brush. In fire parlance, this is called fuel.
We have seen exceptional growth of the wild grasses and brush in the area over the last few months and that translates into a potentially higher than normal fuel for the next wildfire season. Fortunately, the fire district has some highly qualified wildland fire experts on duty and ready to respond if a fire starts. But what can you do as individual homeowners to protect your home and property and that of your neighbors?
Our Southern Arizona grass fires tend to be very fast burning and move with the wind. The easiest way to fight these fires is to create a fire break in front of the fire. A firebreak is a clear space where there is no grass and brush to burn, thus depriving the fire of fuel.
This time of year is a good time to start planning for the next fire season. This is where you can help us help you. If you can walk around your property over the next couple of weeks and check to see if you have at least 30 feet between any desert vegetation and the house itself or any other property or ‘stuff’ that could burn, for example: wood plies, sheds, parked cars, RV’s etc.
Clearing that grass and brush away, trimming off the lower branches of trees, creates a fire break to stop the heat and flames spreading to the structures. Also, while you’re doing that walk around, look to see if that old pile of firewood or lumber can be moved or better yet removed. It’s all a case of removing any fuel from the path of the fire. Just doing a little landscaping cleanup now can have a huge impact if a fire starts nearby. While not every neighbor is as conscientious with yard cleanup as we’d all like, taking care of your own property will help us if and when a fire starts.
As part of fire districts’ pre-planning for the wildfire season you will see our trucks driving the neighborhoods and if we identify any areas of concern, we’ll try to get the responsible party to mitigate the problem. The fire district does not have the authority to enforce private property cleanup and open areas of the desert will fall under the jurisdiction of the County or State.
Pamphlets on “Fire Wise Communities” are available at your local fire department, please contact your local fire marshal for more information.
Corona de Tucson Fire: email@example.com
Rincon Valley Fire: firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, stay safe and remember if you are out doing some yard cleanup look out for those snakes and bees!