By Jayme Kahle
With hotter temperatures fast approaching, the Rincon Valley Fire District would like to remind our residents to prepare for wildfires and create a defensible space around your home. According to FEMA, “a defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation, debris, and other types of combustible fuels have been treated, cleared, or reduced to slow the spread of fire to and from the building.” Certain types of vegetation can be extremely combustible and increase the rate of fire spread such as brush, grass, and timber. Some other causes can be piles of dead vegetation from yardwork/landscaping, firewood and other materials that are too close to your home. Clearing these fuels away from your home helps significantly in the event of a wildfire in our community.
Follow these steps to ensure your family and your home are as safe as possible at all times of the year:
- Clear all combustible materials from within 30 feet of your home, such as the above mentioned items as well as any combustible patio furniture, umbrellas, and lumber. Cleaning gutters and clearing rooftops of debris, especially around chimneys is also advised.
- Limit the amount of flammable vegetation around your home
- Keep vegetation minimal and avoid highly combustible vegetation
- Trim tree branches that overhang your home
- Trim tree branches that touches other trees or vegetation and prune branches high above the ground to help keep a fire out of the trees
- Choose fire-resistant building materials and construction techniques
- Maintain the exterior of your home periodically
- Screen roof and attic vent to prevent ember entry
- Never store flammable materials underneath decks or porches and remove dead vegetation and debris from under them as well
- Have an emergency action plan in place for everyone in the home including for animals and livestock
- Know two ways out of your neighborhood and designate a meeting place in the event of evacuations
- Ensure your home has legible and clearly marked street names and numbers
- Radiant heat can crack windows, dual-pane windows offer better protection than single-pane
- Maintain your driveway to be at least 12 feet wide with a vertical clearance of 15 feet for emergency vehicle access
Please call Rincon Valley Fire District at 520-647-3760 if you would like a home inspection.