Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

State reminds rural residents to prepare for fires

By
From page A3 | April 03, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has a message for people in rural areas: Create defensible fire space.

That means clearing weeds and other types of vegetation that burns easily and doing so within 100 feet of structures. State law requires this in the 31 million acres of State Responsibility Area to protect both rural homes and firefighters who battle fires.

“It has never been more critical to strengthen our fire prevention efforts in light of the elevated fire conditions we have been experiencing in California,” CalFire Director Chief Ken Pimlott said in a press release.

Locally, the Cordelia Fire Protection District fights fires in 56 square miles from Green Valley to lower Suisun Valley to rural Cordelia to hills between Fairfield and Vallejo. The district each year sends out letters and does inspections to make certain local property owners follow state defensible space law.

If an owner – after reminders, inspections and warnings – fails to comply, the district would turn the case over to CalFire. CalFire could take care of the problem itself and charge the homeowner, Cordelia Fire District Chief Jay Huyssoon said.

“It behooves the landowners to come out and do it by themselves,” he said.

The district sends out reminder letters after the last rains of the year, he said.

“If they mow it right now, it will probably grow back again and be above the 4 inches,” Huyssoon said.

Local residents have paid more attention to the defensible space law since the 2008 Wild Fire, Huyssoon said. The fire burned more than 4,000 acres in the hills of Napa and Solano counties, with upper Green Valley in a voluntary evacuation zone.

CalFire gave these tips to help rural homes survive wildfires:

  • Maintain 100 feet of defensible space around all structures.
  • Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters.
  • Trim branches 6 feet from the ground.
  • Use trimming, mowing and power equipment before 10 a.m.
  • Landscape with fire-resistant and drought-tolerant plants that require little water.
  • Remove branches away from roofs and 10 feet from the chimney.
  • Keep wood piles and flammable materials at least 30 feet from the home.
  • Use building materials that are resistant to fire ignition.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or beberling@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.
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