From the October 2013 Battle Mountain News

Post date: Jul 6, 2014 11:54:11 PM

Be Prepared For Peak Fire Season

While the recent rains were a blessing, the rule of thumb for ending fire season is 2” of rain with insignificant drying for 2 weeks. Please then excuse the repetition: September to November is our peak fire season; fuel moisture in the heavy 1000 hour fuels is still hovering in the single digits, and reliable rain is months away. Be sure your home is ready: gutters clean, decks swept, 100' of defensible space in good condition, and the landscaping next to your house low, lean, and green. When you work outside, be sure that you do so in the cool of the morning; clear rocks first when using metal tools.

Be Prepared For Backyard Burn Season

Backyard burn season is typically, though by no means always, between December 1 and April 30. As the opening approaches, we'll have more information on permit requirements.

One thing you should be aware of now is the Monterey Unified Air Pollution Control District's requirements for what you can burn. Piles of leaves and needles should not be burned. The material that you burn must be dry. For burn material that is less than 2” in diameter that requires at least 30 days, for burn material between 2” and 6” the drying period is at least 60 days, so if you want to take maximum advantage, you should be taking advantage of cool damp mornings to clear now. Burn material greater than 6” in diameter must dry for at least 180 days, but it's more suited for firewood anyway.

Your burn piles can be no more than 4' in diameter, and should be surrounded by a 10' diameter, 12” wide circle scraped down to mineral earth. In order to ensure that the fuel is dry you should tarp your piles against early rains. Build feeder piles with the remaining material. It is amazing how efficient this technique is. Last year I single-handedly used a single, previously tarped 4' burn pile to to dispose of a feeder pile 24' long, 6' wide and 4' high; starting at 8 am, I was done with the burn scar cold and wet by 1 pm.

Can We Help You?

At the neighborhood level, we can help you plan projects and obtain the services of a Ben Lomond Camp (BLC) for $200/day. Crews are are not permitted to work on the legally mandated 100' of defensible space around houses, but we can refer you to private contractors. If you and your neighbors do defensible space work together, we are authorized to use the County Fire Chief's Association chipper to help you dispose of the brush. At the household level, we are trained to offer free evaluation and consulting to homeowners on their Home Ignition Zone, prioritizing the easy tasks on the way to minimize the threat of ignition from wildfire.

Can You Help Us?

We have a lot of information to share, but no website; we badly need help with web design, especially experience with Google Sites. We even have a small amount of grant money available for digital media development and donated in-kind work is tax deductible.

Grant money is harder and harder to come by, so local donations more and more important to our mission.