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Jul-08-2014 07:52printcomments

Hot, Dry Weather Brings Wildfire Warning and Safety Tips

Having a 30 foot fire break around the home is extremely important.

Silverton Oregon Grass Fire
Every year the Silverton Fire District responds to numerous wildfires in fields or in heavy timber in their response area. Photo Courtesy: Silverton Fire Department

(SILVERTON, Ore. ) - Every year the Silverton Fire District responds to numerous wildfires in fields or in heavy timber in their response area.

Many of these fires threaten nearby homes and other structures. Home owners have a responsibility to ensure that they take measures to keep their homes safe during a wildfire situation.

Some of the more prominent problems in this area are access issues, flammables being stored to close to the home, tree limbs overhanging the home, and not having a 30 foot or larger fire break around the home.

Having a 30 foot fire break around the home is extremely important. Fire breaks consist of low growing bushes kept away from the home, green grass that is kept short and well watered, and keeping dry debris cleared from the area. Fire breaks give firefighters a much better chance at saving a home than those that do not have a fire break.

It is also a very important element in keeping the home safe if firefighters are not available to defend the home. All flammables, including wood piles and other debris, should be in a sheltered area well away from the home.

It is preferred to have large trees away from homes. However, if homeowners choose to keep them in close proximity, limbs should not be allowed to hang over portions of the home. Trees that catch fire can commonly "crown" which means that the limbs higher up become involved in fire. When this happens, there is a massive amount of fire, heat, and embers that are produced within seconds.

Home owners should also make sure that their driveway is well marked with their address and that tree limbs and brush along the side of the driveway will not interfere with emergency vehicles having access to the home.

Home owners should keep in mind that emergency vehicles are larger and require more room when trying to get to a residence.

The following are some tips for protecting a home from wildfire:

1. Roofing is made of non-combustible materials.

2. Trees have been trimmed away from the roof.

3. Use landscaping plants that are low growing and less flammable.

4. Flammables are stored away from the home.

5. Yard is well trimmed and free of debris.

6. The roof and gutters should be cleaned of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.

7. A 30 foot non-combustible fire break surrounds the home.

8. An adequate water supply is available to fight fire.

9. Good access is provided for emergency vehicles.

10. Exterior walls are made of fire resistant materials.

Source: Silverton Fire Department

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