Wildfires are already raging in Northern California, homes have been lost and many more are threatened today. These homes are similar to all of ours because they were also located in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), areas that are threatened by wildfire every year. We are currently in the middle of fire season so this threat should be in the forefront of your mind.
Recognizing that wildfires are part of where we live, we must also accept the personal responsibility that comes with living in the WUI by making every effort to prepare our homes and prevent fires.
We owe it to our neighbor to reduce the threat around our home so that fires are less likely to spread. For example, if you are not cutting the dry grass on your property you are part of the problem not the solution. We all need to adapt to the threat of fire and it starts with each of us.
The well trained and equipped firefighters of our districts are prepared to aggressively and safety fight these fires but you should know that some days, when it is hot, dry and windy, wildfire and mother nature will take its course and all we can do is get out of the way.
On windy days like these only well-prepared homes that have adapted to the threat will stand a chance of surviving.
I would encourage you to be an expert on the Ready Set Go program that gives detailed advice on preparing for wildfire and can be found at readyforwildfire.org. Here are some tips:
Be Ready by reducing fuels around your home – create defensible space. Remove dead brush and grasses. The law requires attention to the 100 feet from you and your neighbor's home. Don't operate chain saws, weed eaters and lawn mowers during afternoons and on windy days. Make sure campfires are dead out! Call any fire department to get a free defensible space inspection (Truckee Fire 530-582-7850).
Get Set by having an evacuation plan. What are you going to take in a moment's notice? Do you have a GO BAG packed with a couple days of supplies? Where will you go? Do you have adequate homeowners' insurance to cover rebuilding costs?
Be ready to Go by tuning in. Get on Nixle, the emergency communication system in the area by going to Nixle.com and entering in some quick information so emergency managers can notify you early, though your phone and email, of a threatening fire or emergency.
Bill Seline is the fire chief of the Truckee Fire Protection District. Visit Readyforwildfire.org to learn more.