Almanac

News - August 20, 2014

Residents can get town cash to build 'defensible spaces'

If a wildfire gets going in Woodside, there may be residents who, like the grasshopper in Aesop's fable, learn the hard way, in this case about the importance of preparing fire-resistant areas around homes and other buildings.

The town has set aside $25,000 for the current 2014-15 fiscal year and is seeking residents to apply for matching funds of up to $2,000 to create defensible spaces. The program is in its fifth year.

The term "defensible space" refers to areas where vegetation is pruned to avoid feeding a wildfire and to allow firefighters to defend the building against a wildfire. In Woodside, defensible space includes areas within 30 feet of a property line.

Steps that can be taken to create such areas include removing dead brush and debris, mowing grasses and removing low-hanging tree limbs within 100 feet of a building. The Woodside Fire Protection District offers a free property assessment and can also advise on tree removal. Call 851-6206 to schedule an assessment.

All significant trees are automatically protected and require a tree-destruction permit from Town Hall before felling. Native trees become significant when they measure more than 9.5 inches in diameter at 4 feet above the ground. For non-native trees like the eucalyptus and Monterey cypress, the standard is 11.5 inches.

Go to tinyurl.com/spc22 for more. Participation in the program requires pre-approval.

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