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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT NEWS RELEASE
California State Office
 
Release Date: 10/07/10
Contacts: Debra Hein , (760) 872-5057  
  Jane Arteaga , (916) 978-4436  
News Release No. CASO_1101

Californians reminded to Take Responsibility During Fire Prevention Week


During Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 3-9, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reminds Californians to “Take Responsibility” for creating and maintaining 100 feet of clean, open space around their homes to reduce fire danger and the risk of fires spreading. 

BLM and the California Fire Alliance launched the “Take Responsibility” campaign in order to raise awareness among homeowners who live in the wildland urban interface (WUI) about the importance of creating and maintaining defensible space around their homes.

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 WUI zones, with 3.2 million homes at significant risk from wildfires. 

“There is a great need to improve education among homeowners about defensible space,” BLM Acting State Director Jim Abbott said. “Raising awareness about the need for 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.” 

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. 

"Managing fuel reduction and protecting life and property requires shared responsibility.  As agency fire managers work to restore healthy ecosystems, homeowners and communities must maintain their property and manage fuels in a 'fire wise' manner," explained Paul Bannister, fire management officer for BLM-California.

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.

For more information on defensible space, visit www.CAFireAlliance.com.  You can also get updates and information via Twitter by following cafirealliance or on Facebook (search California Fire Alliance).




--BLM--

California State Office   2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, CA 95825  

Last updated: 10-07-2010