Almanac

News - June 12, 2013

Wildfire season is on, danger is high

by Dave Boyce

With a severe fire season projected for California, the Woodside Fire Protection District is asking residents to be particularly alert.

Roadside signs about wildfire danger go up when temperature and wind conditions warrant it. Some 30 residents in the district have signs at home and post them when the fire district requests it, said Fire Chief Dan Ghiorso. The signs were up for the 90-degree-plus temperatures on June 7 and 8, Chief Ghiorso said.

"I put them up and take them down as the weather dictates," he said. "I don't want to leave them out there all year round ... so that people get used to them."

Homeowners need to take certain measures, he said. Grass should be no longer than 6 inches by this time of year, according to the fire code. Areas within 100 feet of a house or other structure and within 30 feet of a property line should be made into a defensible space — cleared of dead vegetative material, with shrubs and large bushes and the lower limbs of trees trimmed to prevent a fire on the ground from spreading from bush to bush or from climbing into the trees' crowns. Roofs, gutters and decks should be cleared of leaves and debris.

Ideally, vegetation likely to catch fire — pine trees, firs, bamboo, juniper, Scotch and French broom, for example — should be replaced with fire-resistant native species.

Go to tinyurl.com/FireSafe333 for detailed lists of what and what not to plant to lower the risks of a wildfire spreading to and from your property.

Fire district officials said they will be out "in force inspecting properties to ensure compliance with Government Code 51182 and the fire district's ordinance."

"All property owners are urged to consider utilizing ignition resistant building materials in the construction or remodeling of their homes," the officials said in a statement. "It is also recommended that property owners inspect their structures for any susceptibility to ember intrusion that could assist in ignition of their home during a wildland fire."

Go to tinyurl.com/FireTips333 for more on fire prevention.

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