Truckee Chief’s Corner: Who creates a fire-adapted community?
August 23, 2016
As I write this, another 175 homes were lost to wildland fire yesterday in Northern California and many are still threatened today.
These homes are similar to all of our homes in that they are all located in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and are threatened by wildfire each year during fire season.
We are in the middle of peak fire season so hopefully this threat is in the forefront of your mind and you feel the connection with the people that you see on the news every week that have lost their homes to wildfire.
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 will be able to do is get out of the way. On a day like this, only well prepared homes and neighborhoods will stand a chance of surviving.
When you recognize that wildfires are part of where we live you must accept the personal responsibility that comes with living in the WUI.
We, the residents, are responsible for aggressively preparing our communities and our homes to make every effort to prevent the starting and intensity of these fires in our neighborhoods.
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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 aggressively 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.
Adapting to fire is an ongoing activity that includes Federal, State and local land managers reducing fuels on their lands as well as residents preparing our homes.
How can you adapt to fire? 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 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. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Readyforwildfire.org to learn more.
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