As we edge towards the end of summer, the fire danger is very high here in our area due to the dry winter we had and the hot, dry, low humidity summer weather that we’ve experienced this year. We should have all done our defensible space routine around our homes a couple of months ago. But, if we didn’t, or things that are flammable have grown or accumulated around our homes and other structures that may be on our property, it’s time to double check everything so we don’t get caught with a disaster on our hands should a fire get started nearby to our properties. A good starting place is to make sure that there is no accumulation of tree debris on the roof surface or in the rain gutters. Any trees growing close to or out over the roof should be trimmed back away from the house as best as possible. Next, a walk around the house is in order to make sure there is no weeds that have grown and dried out or accumulation of leaves and other tree debris present. Thinning out any low growing, dead or flammable bushes and other vegetation, as well as low hanging tree limbs that can act as ‘ladder fuels’ that will allow flames to race up into the tree tops should also be removed. Any weed/grass area around the structures need to be ‘weed whacked’ down to almost ground level for at least 75’ to 100’ away from the walls of the structures. Do NOT use a mower to do this job now as a spark from the mower blade hitting a rock could start the very fire we want to avoid! Use a string line trimmer to knock down the weed growth. Remove any dead plants, trees or shrubs from your property. Remove dense flammable plants like spruce, juniper, buck brush, toyon and manzanita from your defensible space area. Plant fire-resistant plants (plants with high moisture and low sap/resin). Use decorative rock, gravel and stepping stone pathways to break up the continuity of the vegetation. Stack firewood out away from the structures by at least 30’. If you have a deck, consider ways to close off the sides below the deck to discourage flames from sweeping up under the deck, catching it on fire, which then could take out your home. OK, now that I’ve suggested some fire safe things for you to do, I think I’d better head out side and follow my own advice!

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