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Wildfire Awareness/Action Helps Protect Homes

Good morning –

The beautiful weather we’re enjoying is great, but it’s also an indicator that the 2012 fire season is rapidly approaching. California has experienced another season of below-average rainfall and the green grass and vegetation is drying out earlier than expected. When combined with summer temperatures, the dry vegetation will pose an increasing threat for fire danger. With projected meteorological indicators suggesting a hot and dry summer, the fire danger for 2012 is very worrisome. In preparation, Cal Fire has declared May 6 – 12 as Wildfire Awareness Week, and urges residents to visit www.readyforwildfire.org for information about steps they can take to increase the chances of their homes surviving a wildfire.

At the same time, the Redwood City Fire Department is offering important information for residents in the hilly portions of the City to help reduce the possibility of fire, and protect life and property. A key point is to clear brush and grasses to a minimum of 30 – 100 feet from their homes or to the property line, whichever comes first. Doing so creates the fire-defensible space as required under state law. Specific methods for performing the clearing can be learned by visiting the Fire Safe Council of San Mateo County site at www.smcfiresafe.org and Cal Fire at www.fire.ca.gov. The Redwood City Fire Department is an active member of the Fire Safe Council of San Mateo County, and makes inspection of the hillside sections of the City each spring through fall, looking for violators not conforming to state fire codes. California will make the determination of precisely when the fires season officially begins for the entire state, but it’s crucially important for those homes at risk to be prepared year-round.

Here are more fire safety tips for residents in those areas which may be susceptible to wildfire:

  • Cutting and mowing grasses and  weeds to a height of no more than 4 – 6 inches will greatly reduce the  hazardous fuels and reduce the spread of wildfires.
  • Planting low-growing fire  resistant vegetation around the home is also encouraged as a preventative  measure.
  • Removing dead and dry brush  around the home should be done in the same fashion as with the grasses.
  • Removing dead and dying tree  limbs 6 – 8 feet from the ground will further increase this important  defensible space
  • Removing pine needles and other  debris from roofs and gutters is also a critical measure in protecting  homes from a fire.

The Redwood City Fire Department will be out before the start to fire season, inspecting residential areas to make sure homeowners are complying with local and state Fire Codes. Residents can contact the Redwood City Fire Department for additional information regarding wildfire awareness and creating a defensible space at (650) 780-7400. The Department offers one final reminder: all forms of fireworks are illegal in Redwood City. These include fireworks advertised as safe and sane as listed by the California State Fire Marshal’s Office. Any person found using such illegal fireworks can be cited and will be held financially responsible for the fire suppression cost.

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