Black Forest Regional Park is still recovering from the Black Forest Fire that left it
NFPA’s Firewise program teaches home owners how to adapt to living with a wildfire and promotes knowledge about wildfire safety. The 2013 Black Forest fire taught the community a lot about how to react to wildfire, but it is important that members of our community also know how to prepare and protect their families and their homes from wildfire concerns. Below is a list of important Firewise tips.
Rain keeps our fire danger low for a while, but it also helps the grasses grow tall. When tall grass dries out, it becomes light, flashy fuel where fires start easily and travel quickly.In the area within 50 to 100 feet of your structures, cut grass down to four to six inches in height. This will help protect your structures by reducing the size and intensity of fires. Also cut the grass under any trees or bushes with low-hanging branches, in an area extending three to five feet from the tree’s drip line. This will reduce the chance that tall grasses will become “ladder fuel” that carries a small ground fire into the crowns of the trees. By keeping grasses short, you’ll help wildfires stay small and on the ground, where firefighters have a better chance of managing them.
Firewood stacked close to your house, or under your deck, is like a time bomb. When wildfire embers settle into your wood pile, they will slowly build a fire that can destroy your home. Fortunately, you can reduce this risk by moving your wood pile at least 30 feet away from your house. Wood should be stacked level with the house or uphill, and at least 15 feet away from overhanging tree limbs. For convenience on cold nights, keep a small wood supply indoors, in a utility room, enclosed shed, or garage.
We call those low-hanging branches “ladder fuel” because they can easily carry a tame ground fire into the crowns of the pines. Once the fire is in the treetops, it becomes a huge fire that’s extremely hard to control. But you can help a fire stay on the ground by taking its ladder away: Simply cut off those low-hanging limbs. For tall, mature trees, remove all limbs at least ten feet off the ground. A bow saw on the end of a pole (shown here) is a good tool for that job, because it lets you work safely from the ground. When limbing smaller trees that you want to keep, trim the lower 1/3 of the tree’s height.