Letter to the Editor: We need to take defensible space seriously
July 22, 2014
I fancy myself as a Truckee community advocate. In that self-appointed role, I am passionate about defensible space, fire safety, risk reduction and community protection.
After experiencing firsthand a wildfire that threatened my home and standing on my roof with a hose, I have learned that most folks don't believe it can happen to them.
Trust me: It can, and the fire agencies are telling us it will.
I cannot believe what I see when driving through our local communities. Let me start with Martis Valley Road. I see pine needles accumulated on roofs, I see flammable materials piled against homes and un-cleared properties. Do these folks think the fire district will save their home?
Let's see, we have thousands of homes in our community and a limited number of fire personnel. What property do you think the fire districts will defend; the property where the owners did everything possible to build defensible space, or those who have not?
Next, let's take a look at the Henness Flats Apartments. I saw pine needles accumulated on some of the roofs the other day. These observations are just the ones I made last week. You've got to believe these are just the tip of the iceberg.
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Everyone needs to take this seriously. Don't be lazy, and don't be in denial. My family has made an emergency evacuation plan.
It goes something like this: We determined our evacuation plan based on the number of days, hours or minutes of notice we might have. We have agreed on a meeting place if we can get there.
Everyone should know the needs of their family and prepare accordingly. Some of the things you should think about: water, medications, eye glasses, clothes, important papers (put them all together in a place easy to get to), irreplaceable treasures (if you have space and time), blankets and snacks. Make sure you can be self-sufficient for several days.
I am encouraged by what my family and some of my neighbors have done to protect not only ourselves but others as well.
It is clearly not enough, but I would hope everyone in this community will get on board and become believers as I am.