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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wildfire Mitigation tips

"Elk Bath" – A wildfire in the Bitte...Image via Wikipedia
As our population continues to grow, more and more people are building homes in places that were once pristine wilderness areas. Homeowners who build in remote and wooded areas must take responsibility for the way their buildings are constructed and the way they landscape around them.

Use Fire Resistant Building Materials
The roof and exterior structure of your home and other buildings should be constructed of non-combustible or fire-resistant materials. If wood siding, cedar shakes or any other highly combustible materials are used, they should be treated with fire retardant chemicals.

Landscape wisely
Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees to minimize the spread of fire and space your landscaping so fire is not carried to your home or other surrounding vegetation. Remove vines from the walls of your home.

Create a “safety zone” around the house
- Mow grass regularly.
- Stack firewood at least 30 to 100 feet (10 to 30 m) away and uphill from home.
- Keep roof and gutters free of pine needles, leaves, and branches and clear away flammable vegetation at least 30 to 100 feet (9 to 30 m) from around structures.
- Thin a 15-foot (4.5 m) space between tree crowns and remove limbs within 10-15 feet (3 - 4.5 m) of the ground.
- Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.
- Prune tree branches and shrubs within 10 feet (3 m) of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
- Remove leaves and rubbish from under structures.
- Ask power company to clear branches from power lines.
- Keep combustibles away from structures and clear a 10-foot (3 m) area around propane tanks, boats, etc.

Protect your home
- Install smoke and CO detectors, test them each month and change batteries once a year.
- Install protective shutters or fire-resistant drapes.
- Inspect chimneys twice a year and clean every year.
- Cover chimney and stovepipe flue openings with 1/2 inch (1 cm) or smaller non-flammable mesh screen.
- Use same mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas and home itself. Also screen openings to attic and roof.
- Soak ashes and charcoal briquettes in water for two days in a metal bucket.
- Keep a garden hose connected to an outlet.
- Have fire tools handy (ladder, shovel, rake, ax, etc.)
- Put address on all structures so it can be seen from road.

Above extracted from IT’S A DISASTER! …and what are YOU gonna do about it? A Disaster Preparedness, Prevention & Basic First Aid Manual (a majority of the proceeds benefit APN – learn more)
More wildfire safety tips at http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/citizens/focus/wildfire.shtm

A few sites to keep handy during wildfire season are…

Arizona Interagency Wildfire Prevention http://azsf.az.gov/fire_information/

Southwest Coordination Center (AZ and NM) http://gacc.nifc.gov/swcc/information/information.htm

National Interagency Fire Center http://www.nifc.gov/fire_info.html

National InciWeb http://www.inciweb.org/


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