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June 20, 2024
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As May approaches, Cal Fire offers fire prevention tips

Defensible space is key to protect home, authorities say

With the month of May beginning this week, with its warmer weather, lower humidity and drying vegetation, Cal Fire is urging Bay Area homeowners to do all they can to protect against fire.

“Fires are mostly caused by the human factor,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Robert Carvalho. “For example, if a fire starts in someone’s backyard, it’s likely their lawn mower blade hit a rock and struck a spark.”

To help guard against this, Carvalho said it’s best to mow the lawn before 10am. Keeping the grass short is actually a good way to help minimize the risk of fire—just don’t mow when it’s hot out.

More tips on clearing vegetation: String trimmers are safer than lawnmowers. And when watering during times of drought, be sure to remove all dead or dying vegetation.

In addition to these tips, Cal Fire emphasizes that defensible space is one of the most important ways to protect a home against fire. Defensible space is the buffer between a structure and the surrounding area.

“No stacks of wood next to the home,” the battalion chief said.

The first five feet from the home is the most important, according to Cal Fire. Keeping the area closest to buildings, structures and decks clear will prevent embers from igniting materials that can spread the fire to a home. The majority of homes lost to wildfire are ignited by flying embers.

More tips are available on the Cal Fire website at https://www.fire.ca.gov/dspace.

While urging homeowners to prepare, the agency is doing the same. 

Cal Fire is taking steps to get ready for the increased risk posed by warmer weather, the battalion chief said.

“Over the last couple weeks, our fire crews have been doing preparedness exercises, rehearsing working with hoses and hiking while wearing heavy fire gear,” Carvalho said.

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