As fires continue to rage throughout our state and some of our Ben Lomond volunteers assist in the fight, we want to offer locals five quick outdoor safety tips to help prevent a fire disaster in our community.
1. Clear Trees & Brush
Your property should be maintained as a “reducedfuel zone.” This means that the area at least 100 feet out surrounding your house must be kept clear of dry vegetation, dead trees and shrubs, and low-hanging branches. And it’s not just us saying this – California law requires a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space. Dry trees create fuel for wildfires, so keep a clear zone that may redirect a wildfire around your home. Examine your yard monthly and clear debris, trim branches, and clear your roof, gutters, and wooden decks of dry vegetation. Always remember that the clearer and more open an area is, the better chance we have to protect your property.
2. Safe Firewood Storage
Many people store firewood alongside of their home out of convenience – it’s easy to access just outside the door. But wood piles stacked against or near a house are a fire hazard and should be moved at least 30 feet away. Should there be a wildfire in the general area, a small ember can ignite a pile of wood, and if it’s stacked next to your home, it can be disastrous. Along with storing wood 30 feet away from your home, consider a fire-resistant box or a raised, open container covered with a fire-resistant tarp. In addition to firewood, move anything combustible away from your home, including building materials, mulch, and plants containing resins like pine or juniper.
3. Do Yard Work Before 10 am
Will you awaken your neighbors? Possibly. But we’re sure they’ll understand when you start up the mower before 10 am in an effort to help protect your community. Yard work equipment like lawn mowers, weed-eaters, tractors, trimmers, grinders, and others all have the potential to spark a wildfire. Mowing before 10 am when temperatures are cooler will help reduce the risk – but never mow when it’s excessively dry or windy. Keep a shovel handy, as well as a fire extinguisher nearby,
4. Storage of Flammable Liquids
If you have a mower or weed-eater, it’s likely you also keep gasoline on hand to keep them running. Gasoline is one of the most dangerous liquids stored at home, and often it’s because people don’t know how to store it properly. Gasoline should always be stored in a well ventilated area, detached from your home and in UL-approved safety cans away from heat sources like furnaces and hot water heaters. Storage cabinets should be used if you keep a large amount of flammable liquids at home. Store gasoline and other flammable liquids like paints, solvents, cleaners, alcohols, adhesives, diesel fuel, and motor oil should be placed on low, study shelves to prevent spills.
5. Grilling & Camping Safety
If you have a grill, barbecue, or enjoy camping on occasion, don’t let a little distraction or carelessness ruin your day. Charcoal BBQs and propane grills should be placed on a flat surface away from your home – not under eaves or next to deck railings – and should never be used indoors. Before and after you cook, clean the grill and the collecting trays of residual grease and fat buildup. Whether grilling at home or at a campsite, never leave a BBQ unattended, and make sure the grill is extinguished and completely cool before moving on. And if you’re camping in a dry region, always check with a ranger before lighting a campfire.