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Preparation is key to fire prevention

As the warmer weather and longer days battle the mounds of snow in our yards and the earth bares itself to us once again, our thoughts turn from winter activities to spring cleanup. The ravages of winter have left broken branches, pine needles, and pinecones in abundance in our yards. Bulbs are sprouting and our attention is being turned to our yards and surroundings. As the snow recedes, winter trash is surfacing and we can’t stand it any longer, we start getting out in the yard and cleaning things up.

Below are some tips that can help you stay safe through this process:

– Before venturing out into the yard looking down at all the work waiting for you on the ground, take a few minutes to look up. Look in the trees around your home for broken limbs precariously hanging in the branches. These can fall at anytime without warning and are referred to as a “widow maker” for a reason. Have these removed before venturing out to work in your yard.



– Look for debris on your roof and start there if the snow has melted off. Clear the debris from your roof to help keep your home fire safe. If there is still snow on your roof don’t work in its’ slide path. The warm days will loosen it and it may slide without warning.

– Before starting any strenuous activity, always warm up and stretch. Remember to stay hydrated.



– When possible recycle your yard debris. Keep limbs and pine cones separated from your pine needles. There are pine needle collection days when you can take your needles to a collection site for recycling. Some locations also take limbs but they need to be separated. When hauling to those sites, load your pine needles first and stack the limbs on top.

– Truckee Fire Protection District has a summer chipping program. Call 582-7850 to arrange a date to have your limbs chipped at your home. The chips are left at your home and you can use them for garden paths etc. The limbs need to be stacked at the roadside with the butt end of the limb facing the road so they can be easily picked up and fed into the chipper.

– If you are using your own chipper or a rental, remember to keep your hands away from the chutes and never operate this type of equipment with loose fitting clothing. Use appropriate hearing and eye protection.

– Create a 30-foot defensible space area around your home. If your house is on a slope, this distance may need to be increased to 100 feet. Contact our prevention office at 582-7853 for more information on defensible space.

– When lifting heavy objects always remember to lift with your legs and not with your back.

– Make sure your street address is clearly visible from the street. Have trees and shrubs grown to the point they will obscure your address when they leaf out?

So enjoy this spring weather as it teases us of the summer to come, and stay safe.

Gene Welch is Fire Protection Officer for the Truckee Fire Protection District.


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