By Micha Wolf | Concordia/Vernon/Woodlawn Neighborhood Emergency Team
True summer is beginning, temperatures are rising and so is the danger of a fire starting in our backyards. We live in an urban area, and you may think that fires (especially forest and wildfires) only affect homes far away in the mountains…
You might even be conscientious about watering your lawns and gardens, take measures to store your barbecue safely or if you smoke, diligently dispose of your stubs in a proper container.
Even so, it does not take much to start a fire in dry conditions and when occurring in summer, fires are more likely to result in damage and property loss.
A fire may start small by a burning coal, a dry patch of grass or a match accidentally tossed into your yard. While you might be able to get a smaller fire under control rather quickly, the real danger is a ladder fuel–a process where a small fire grows bigger by moving upward fast, through vegetation of different heights and possibly even advancing dangerously close to a building. Concordia neighborhood is susceptible to ladder fuels because it boasts lots of old-growth fir trees and many older homes have mature landscaping (tall trees and shrubs) around them.
Here are some tips from the Neighborhood Emergency Team on how to keep and maintain a firewise landscape:
- Water plants adequately
- Clear any debris from the yard
- Mow grass and keep it under 4 inches of height
- Prune trees high (at least 10 ft) to create a safe distance from other plants around and under it
- Space mature plants two times their circumference apart
- Cut dead material out of bushes (especially Arborvitae and Cedar) Following these precautions will significantly reduce the likelihood of a fire.
To fight a fire, always keep a functioning and serviced fire extinguisher nearby. Stomp out a very small fire. If in doubt, call 911 immediately. For more information on fire and smoke, see publicalerts.org/wildfire-smoke.
Next month’s News from the NET: how to plant a firewise garden.
Micha Wolf ha s retired from teaching primary school, loves being in nature and believes in building community through engagement.