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From the September 2012 Battle Mountain News

posted Jul 3, 2014, 2:24 PM by Joe Christy

The Wildland Wise Acre

On July 18th forty Dooners gathered to hear a galvanizing presentation by Caerleon Safford, Fire Safe Sonoma coordinator - The Wildland Wise Acre, or How Your Home Can Help Save the Forest, about protecting your property from the center outward. We live in a fire ecosystem, so fires are natural and inevitable. Over the millenia, local flora and fauna have adapted to that inevitability and, as our Ecological Reserve attests, come back strong and healthier after wildfire. Caerleon's thesis is that as relative newcomers to the ecosystem, we too must adapt. If we can keep our homes from igniting in a wildfire, then we will have created a fire adapted, resilient human community.

The wildfires that most threaten our community happen when we have three extremes: heat, dryness, and winds, all at the same time. When these three combine, a wildfire drives a blizzard of embers before it, sometimes miles ahead of the fire front. If a property can withstand the ember blizzard, chance are quite high that it will survive the actual fire front when it eventually swiftly passes, probably in a matter of minutes. We all have heard about defensible space around our homes. The latest fire science points to 6 priorities for our homes themselves: First, roofs, 2) vents, 3) the little things around your home that can matter most, 4) windows, 5) decks, and last, siding.

Look Around Your House and Deck

What are those little thing that can matter most? Are there corners where the wind has blown leaves? Those are the same places where the blizzard will deposit embers, so your first task is to clean those places of debris. Is there stuff stuck in the cracks between the boards on you deck? Embers will collect there, so clean them out. What about on top of and underneath your deck? Dry firewood is about as flammable, pound for pound, as gasoline, so get it out from under the deck. The dog bed that keeps Fido comfy will also provide a receptive bed for firebrands. Don't forget about the broom that you use to clean up the mess, it can be an easily lit and very efficient torch. Think about what your property looks like when we get the beautiful annual dusting of snow and imagine that the cold whiteness is replaced with glowing embers.