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Wildfire Safety in the Heat

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California, with it’s dry weather and record breaking heat, is no doubt vulnerable to dangerous wildfires. The state has experienced some devastating fires this year. There are weather patterns that can contribute to fire risk such as low relative humidity, strong winds, dry lightning strikes, etc. If you combine this with human error and negligence, a catastrophe can occur. Cal Fire states that 95% of all wildfires are caused by the activity of people. So, it is imperative that California residents be very cautious during periods of high fire danger. Here are some tips to prevent wildfires.

Wildfire Prevention Tips

Campfire Safety

  • Always ensure that your campfire is properly extinguished by using the “drown, stir and feel” method.
  • You need a permit to make a campfire and it needs to be permitted on the land you are visiting.
  • Always keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby.
  • Keep the campfire away from overhanging branches and other fuels (logs, brush, decaying leaves, needles, etc.).

Vehicle Use

  • Do not let your brake pads wear too thin because it can create a spark.
  • Ensure trailer chains don’t drag on the ground.
  • Always keep a properly maintained vehicle.
  • Avoid driving on the wheel rim by having proper tire pressure.
  • Do not pull the car over in dry grass.

Equipment Safety

  • Never mow or trim dry grass on a red flag warning day.
  • Mow before 10 a.m. on a day when it’s not hot and windy.
  • Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.
  • Spark arresters are required in wildland areas on all portable gasoline powered equipment such as mowers, harvesters, chainsaws, tractors, weed-eaters, etc.
  • Remove rocks in the area before you begin operating any equipment.
  • Use the recommended grade of fuel and don’t top off.

Other Prevention Tips

  • Always make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished. Do not throw them out of a car window.
  • Keep and eye out for suspicious activities to prevent arson.
  • Pay attention to no burn days and when it’s windy or areas where not allowed before you burn landscape debris.
  • Always maintain a burn permit.
  • Use approved areas for target shoot and use lead ammunition only (never at metal targets).

Protecting Property

  • Always make sure you have 100 feet of defensible space around your home.
  • Keep your gutters clean.
  • Remove dead vegetation from under deck and within 10 feet of house.
  • Mow the lawn regularly.
  • Prune trees up six to ten feet from the ground.
  • Consider fire-resistant material for patio furniture, roofing, swing sets, etc.
  • Consider keeping a pond on your property.

Visit Cal Fire for additional tips and resources.

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