his column addresses topics related to the health of ourcommunity.
Living in a dry climate means that we have to be vigilant about fire safety. Last week's Ray May fire to our south was a reminder that danger is just a careless moment away. As residents, we can all take steps to protect our property and ourselves in case of a fire.
Create defensible space
Defensible space is the area around a home where the vegetation has been managed in a way that helps protect it from fires and helps to give firefighters the upper hand if they need to protect your home. How much defensible space you need depends on a number of factors, like if your house sits on a hill or not.
Creating defensible space is not difficult. Homeowners can create defensible space by removing any dead trees and shrubs, and thinning out remaining vegetation so there is less fuel to feed a fire. Make sure the area around your house is "Lean, Clean and Green." Carson City Fire Department will even bring a Dumpster to your property that you can use to dispose of plant material at no charge.
Be cautious if you burn
Open burning is not allowed in Carson City unless you have a permit, which can be obtained by calling the Fire Department. After you have a permit, there are important rules you must follow:
• Burn only between the hours of 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
• Cease burning if wind is above 5 mph
• Burn pile must be no more than 3 feet in diameter and 2 feet high
• Burn pile must be 25 feet away from any structure or other combustibles
• A garden hose or other approved extinguishing equipment must be on site and available at all times
• Fire must be attended by an adult at all times
• Burning of yard waste only (e.g., weeds, limbs, leaves, etc.
If you do decide to have a fire on your property, make sure it is completely extinguished before you leave. Sometimes, fires can re-ignite and spread.
Plan to evacuate
Fire is a natural part of nature, but when it comes too close to our homes, we have to be ready to get out of the way. Discuss an evacuation plan with your family, so everyone knows where to go in case your home is threatened by fire. Make a kit that you can take with you in case you have to go to a hotel or evacuation shelter. Information on what you should include in an emergency kit can be found at www.ready.gov.
Tim Rochelle is a Wildland Fuels Management Officer with the Carson City Fire Department. He advises homeowners to create defensible space around their property to protect it from wildfire.
Homeowners who are unsure if their property is defensible can contact officer Rochelle at 283-7161 to schedule a free Wildfire Threat Reduction Evaluation and receive guidance about actions the can take to protect their home. Additional information for homeowners is available from the Living with Fire website, www.livingwithfire.info.