Fire Defense: Creating Fire-Safe Zones for Your Home

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MESA COUNTY, Colo.

It’s been a busy year for firefighters on the Western Slope.”Our fire data is showing that this fire season has been very busy. It’s actually a lot busier than last year,” says Dirk Clingman with the Grand Junction Fire Department.

A drought plus, increasing temperatures plus, wild land right next to your landscaping creates a ladder for fire to climb that equals fire hazard. Clingman explains how eliminating ladder fuels can save your home. “Here’s a little bush down here that catches fire. That fire can reach up to a slightly taller bush, and then that bush can reach a tree which reaches your house.”

It’s easy to create a defensible space around your house so your home doesn’t become another statistic. First use your eyes for safe home zone number one which is 5 feet, and don’t worry if you don’t have a measuring tape. Dirk says, “If you stretch your arms out and walk the perimeter of your house, that’s the area where you just shouldn’t have anything. If your barbecue grill is pushed up right against the side of your house. If you do have a wood burning stove, and you do have the fuel right up against your home. Just scooch it, scooch it away from your home.”

Next, use your back, but lift with your legs to remove fire fuels from the home zone, and if you don’t like to bend, have the kids do it. Dirk says, “If you have charcoal, if you have lighter fluid, anything that really starts a fire well, you wanna store it in a cool, dry place away from your home.”

Now, that home zone number one is covered, number two might be even easier to safeguard. “Moving out from there, that incorporates your grass, your bushes, your trees, and the idea is to keep it lean, clean, and green,” says Clingman. The easiest step for safe home zone number two , may be the most fun, just turn on the sprinklers.

Mesa County is currently under stage one fire restrictions, and to find out what you can, or shouldn’t do, click here.

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