Tahoe chief’s corner: A wildlfire-minded spring-cleaning checklist | SierraSun.com

Tahoe chief’s corner: A wildlfire-minded spring-cleaning checklist

Mike Brown
Special to the Bonanza

LAKE TAHOE — Spring will officially be here Friday. Many of us are beginning to think about what that means … spring cleaning.

As we decide which home cleaning projects to tackle in what order, let's add fire safety to the checklist. Not just indoor items but outdoor items.

Every year, wildfires burn across the U.S., and more and more people are living where wildfires are a real risk.

But by working together, residents can make their own property, and their neighborhood, much safer from wildfire.

Consider these action steps for around your home:

• CLEAR leaves and other vegetative debris from roofs, gutters, porches and decks. This helps prevent embers from igniting your home.

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• REMOVE all combustible materials from under your deck or porch, and within 5 feet of the house. If it can catch fire, don't let it touch your house, deck or porch.

• SCREEN in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.

• REMOVE flammable materials (wood piles, propane tanks, dead plants, and pine needles) within 30 feet of your home's foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds.

• PRUNE trees so the lowest branches are 10 feet from the ground. Remember, wildfire can spread to tree tops.

• KEEP your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.

• DISPOSE of debris and lawn cuttings quickly to reduce fuel for fire.

• INSPECT shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair the shingles that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.

• COVER exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.

• ENCLOSE eaves and screen soffit vents using 1/8 mesh metal screening to prevent ember entry.

Take advantage of our free chipping and defensible space evaluation services starting May 1 by visiting http://www.nltfpd.net.

Also take advantage of Waste Management's Curbside yard Waste Recycling Program, offered from May 4 through July 24. For information please visit yourtahoeplace.com call 775-831-2971.

The more actions a community takes, the more fire adapted it becomes. To learn more about what you can do around your home visit http://www.LivingWithFire.info/tahoe.

"Chief's Corner" is a regular feature in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.