MARIPOSA — After a destructive fire season in 2016, conditions in California are already drying out, prompting Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., to declare May 7 – 13, 2017 as “Wildfire Awareness Week.”
During Wildfire Awareness Week, Cal Fire is stressing the critical role all residents play in preparing for fire season now.
Approximately 90 percent of all wildfires in California are caused by people. That is why fire agencies need the public’s help to prevent them. Taking a few precautionary steps can help prevent wildfires.
Creating defensible space around your home is key to helping your home survive a wildfire, but are you doing the right thing the wrong way? Lawn mowers, weedeaters, chainsaws, grinders, welders, tractors, and trimmers can all spark a wildland fire.
If you live in a wildland area you need to use all equipment responsibly. Be sure spark arresters are in place, don’t use grinders or welders or leave hot equipment near dead grass, don’t use metal twine when weed eating, and mow before 10 a.m.
When towing, practice safe towing, dragging chains throw sparks. Maintain proper tire pressure, driving on exposed rims will throw sparks. Don’t drive your vehicle onto dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires that you won’t see — until it’s too late! Brakes worn too thin may cause metal to metal contact, which can cause a spark.
Property owners conducting hazard reduction burning are responsible for maintaining fire safety. Check local laws prior to burning. Keep a water supply close to the burn site, create a vegetation free zone, down to bare minimum soil, 10 feet around your burn pile, don’t burn on dry, windy days and never use flammable liquid such as gasoline or diesel to ignite the fire.
When camping cool all lanterns, stoves, and heaters before refueling. Keep campfires small, surrounded by rocks and scrape away all burning material within 10 feet of the fire. Never leave it unattended and be sure it is completely out before you leave.
Residents looking for additional information on how to prepare themselves, their families and their homes for wildfire can visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org. The site offers tips for residents to make their homes more resistant to wildfires and to ensure that their families are ready to evacuate early and safely when a wildfire strikes.