Eastside Fire & Rescue urges residents to prevent urban wildfires
August 14, 2012
NEW — 4 p.m. Aug. 14, 2012
The risk of wildfire is not limited to communities east of the Cascades.
In recent weeks, Eastside Fire & Rescue and other nearby fire departments responded to small brush fires along highways and other roads, neighborhood greenbelts and parks.
Protecting a home from urban brush fires is the homeowner’s responsibility.
Homeowners can take several safety precautions to create a defensible space around a residence. EFR reminds residents to consider topography, nearby vegetation and a home’s fire resistance.
The agency offers tips for homeowners to create a defensible space:
- Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation and remove vines from walls of the home, and remove rubbish from around the structure. Mow grass regularly.
- Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns, and remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground. Thinning is simply reducing the density of vegetation between trees in a yard. Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
- Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
- Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and barbeques. Place a screen over the grill using nonflammable material with mesh no coarser than ¼-inch.
- Regularly dispose of newspapers and other flammable materials to appropriate sites.
- Place stove, fireplace and grill ashes in a metal bucket, soak in water for two days and then bury the cold ashes in mineral soil.
- Store gasoline, oily rags and other flammable materials in approved safety cans that can be purchased at the hardware store. Place cans in a safe location away from the base of buildings.
- Stack firewood at least 50 feet away and uphill from a home. Clear combustible material within 20 feet. Use only UL-approved wood burning devices.
- Create a 30-foot safety zone around a home. Keep the volume of vegetation in this zone to a minimum. The greater the distance between a home and vegetation, the greater the protection.
- Remove debris on rooftops, in gutters, and under sun decks and porches.
- Enclose eaves and overhangs. Like porches and balconies, eaves trap the heat rising along the exterior siding. Enclose all eaves to reduce the hazard.