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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
California State Office
 
Release Date: 05/28/09
Contacts: BLM-Debra Hein , 760-872-5057  
  or Steve Razo , 951-697-5217  
  USFS-John Heil , 707-562-9004  
News Release No. SO-09-11

The California Fire Alliance and Bureau of Land Management Launch "Take Responsibility" Campaign


SAN DIEGO — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and partnering agencies of the California Fire Alliance held a press conference today in the mid-city San Diego community of Talmadge to launch the "Take Responsibility" campaign, aimed at raising awareness among homeowners who live in the wildland-urban interface about the importance of creating and maintaining defensible space around their homes.

"There is a great need to improve education among homeowners about defensible space," stated BLM Acting State Director Jim Abbott. "Raising awareness about 100 feet of defensible space is a crucial step in limiting the devastating effects of wildfires. The risk is too great for homeowners not to take responsibility." 

As an example, the Talmadge Fire Safe Council, with a grant from the U.S. forest Service, is helping homeowners thin brush around their canyon properties.

"Wildfire management and protecting life and property requires shared responsibility.  As agency fire managers work to restore healthy ecosystems, homeowners and communities must maintain and manage growth around their property in a 'fire wise' manner," explained Randy Moore, USFS regional forester and chairman of the California Fire Alliance.

 There are five easy steps to create an effective defensible space around homes:

• Remove dead shrubs, dried grass, fallen branches and dried leaves 100 feet around your house.
• Trim and separate plants and shrubs to stop fire from spreading.
• Remove ladder fuels - plants, shrubs and low branches that let a fire on the ground climb into the trees.
• Clear five feet around the base of the house and fill the space with fire resistant plants or materials such as rocks or gravel.
• Take care of the clean, open space around your home on a regular basis.

Housing developments have increased greatly throughout California.  According to a Government Accountability Office report, an estimated 41 percent of homes in California are located in wildland-urban interface zones, with 3.2 million homes at significant risk from wildfires. 

In 2007, California suffered one of the worst fire seasons in history with 1.6 million acres burned, more than 8,000 individual fires and 3,830 structures lost. 

For more information on defensible space, visit www.CAFireAlliance.com.  Updates and information is also available via Twitter by following cafirealliance or on Facebook (search California Fire Alliance).




--BLM--

California State Office   2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825  

Last updated: 06-01-2009