ELKO FIELD OFFICE NO. 2007-61
FOR RELEASE: May 7, 2007
CONTACT: Mike Brown, (775) 753-0386; firstname.lastname@example.org
2006 Pre Fire Season #2
WHAT YOU CAN DO - PROTECTING YOUR HOME FROM WILDFIRE
You live in the country outside of town … or even in town … and there are dark, billowing clouds of smoke just over the closest rise and the wind blowing towards your house. What should you do?
“The time to get concerned about your home is not during fire season,” said Bureau of Land Management BLM Elko Fire Management Officer Joe Freeland. “Today is the right time to look at property, assess its fire risk, and start creating defensible space. Next weekend is the perfect time to get your lawnmower out and start mowing tall grass and weeds. Thirty feet of defensible space around your home isn’t hard to accomplish.”
Here are things that homeowners can do to reduce fire hazards on their property:
• Clear all grasses like cheat grass and red brome, as well as brush, from within 30 feet of houses and other structures. Remove the grass; do not burn it! The 30-foot clearance will reduce the chance of a wildfire igniting your home and provide a safety zone or “defensible space” for firefighters to work.
• Keep the area lean, clean and green throughout the fire season; break up continuous layers of vegetation, use fire resistant plants where possible.
• Make sure Liquefied Petroleum Gas Tanks have a 10 foot clearance of flammable vegetation.
• Make sure all flammable materials, including firewood, is kept away from all buildings.
• Keep a connected garden hose with spray nozzle attached in case there is an accidental fire start.
“Defensible space doesn’t just mean your home, it means your neighbor’s as well,” said Dylan Rader, BLM Elko Fire Prevention Specialist. “If you mow your property and your neighbor doesn’t – there’s still a problem. Work together, help each other. Fire prevention is a community wide effort.”
“Defensible space provides fire fighters with a buffer in which they may be able to fend off approaching fire,” said Tom Turk, Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) Regional Forester. “The Nevada Division of Forestry will fight fire very aggressively to protect the life and property of Nevada residents. However, the reality is there are homes that are winners and homes that are losers. Homes with defensible space stand a much great chance of being saved than homes with brush, weeds, building materials, etc. surrounding the structures. If fire fighters are faced with a decision of which home to protect in the event of a wildfire, they focus their efforts and often limited resources on homes that are savable.”
“Many communities have formed Fire Safe Chapters and are working with the Nevada Fire Safe Council. This provides access to grant funds which can be used to protect neighborhoods against wildfire,” Turk added. “People are welcome to call NDF or their local Volunteer Fire Departments for a free property evaluation. Fire staff will come out and evaluate property as time and scheduling allows. NDF can be reached at 775-738-3854.”
“The bottom line is that everyone is responsible for fire safety. Fire fighting agencies and Volunteer Fire Departments can only do so much - Mother Nature is not controllable,” Turk concluded.
Note to editors – This is the second in a series of 4 articles dealing with the coming fire season. Future topics in the series include information about first responders to wildfires and what to do if a fire does come near homes.