Prepping For Fire Season

April 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Warmer temperatures and a lack of rain have firefighters gearing up for an early fire season.For weeks, workers have been trimming brush along this flood control berm in Clovis. It's a project fire crews hope more homeowners will start doing.

Chris Christopherson with Cal Fire says, "We're at about 15 days dryer this year than last year that the grass has dried out and because of that we're staffing up some of our Cal Fire season engines earlier."

Since February, Cal Fire crews have been scouting homes, reminding its owners:

-they need to clear overgrown brush at least 100 feet around their home and other structures,
-their trees need to be trimmed at least 8 feet above ground,
-and they have to have a clearly marked address.

"The temperatures being in the 90s this week, you could easily have a fire out here and it would run through this grass quickly, especially with the breeze we typically get in the afternoons."

With brush growing up to the edge of this home here, firefighters say this is one of the worst examples of defensible space. So if a fire were to go through here, everything in the area would be at risk.

Dennis Smith with Cal Fire, says, "It can easily spread, and that threatens all the neighbors. There's houses everywhere. This is a highly populated area."

Terry Kirby lives next door to the home firefighters have labeled a hazard. She said there have been fires on her property before, which is why she's good about trimming the area around her home. "I usually cut down to the dirt. There's no grass left by the time I get through with it."

Most homes should meet defensible space standards by May 15th. If a firefighter gives you a warning about overgrown brush and that warning goes ignored, you could be responsible for paying the state to do the work, which could cost you thousands of dollars.

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