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From the May 2013 Battle Mountain News

posted Jul 6, 2014, 4:29 PM by Joe Christy

Once More, Burn Season Ends and Fire Season Begins

Backyard burn season has just ended and fire season is upon us. This spring has been one of the driest on record. Statewide there have already been 680 wildfires this calendar year, 45% above the long term historical average. There have been already been large wildfires in Lake, Inyo, and Riverside Counties.

On our mountain, the late rains have been somewhat helpful to late season backyard burners, but the fuel moisture levels are already dangerously low and the vegetation that benefited most from the rains is the flashiest. Remember though that the fuel most threatening to a home in a wildfire is other homes. Now is the time to begin working outward from your own home to eliminate ignition risks. Your home won't burn down if it doesn't catch fire to begin with.

Start on the roof. Clean needle and leaf litter from your roof valleys and gutters; with the recent prolonged windy period there will be a lot of litter which would provide the bed that embers flying in advance of a wildfire will kindle into a structure fire. Next, look to see that your roof and attic vents are screened. Then clean around your foundation and decks. The litter is not the only danger. Think about the bamboo shades, the firewood, the dog bed, and even the broom you use all of these are readily ignitable.

Make sure that the plantings next to your house are low, clean, and green. Cut the dry grass within 30' of your home to 4” or less, and beyond that out to 100' be sure it 12” or less. Remember that the ground surface is typically 20° to 40° hotter than air and that the slightest wind across a grass fire produces flame lengths dozens of times the height of the grass which move at essentially the same speed as the gusts.

This prescription is hardly complete. As the season deepens, we'll bring you more suggestions for work building on what you do now.

Are you Ready to Make Your Neighborhood More Fire Safe?

The Bonny Doon Fire Safe Council is here to help with your neighborhood's fuel reduction project. We are currently soliciting neighborhood project proposals. If you have a fuel break or other fuel management project in mind, please contact us. We can help coordinated neighborhoods accomplish fuel hazard reduction in strategic fire break locations by helping organize and implement the work. The Fire Safe Council can facilitate work with Ben Lomond Camp crew for roughly $220/day. Their work must be outside of the 100 feet of defensible space around homes. Together, we can greatly enhance the defensibility of our road system to improve our safety in the next wildfire.

The primary criteria for prioritizing projects are:

  1. demonstrable neighborhood support, both volunteer and financial

  2. project readiness

  3. strategic value

We look forward to hearing from you!


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