Fire Education Corps gives tips to residents

As the mercury rises in Carson City, so does the threat of wildfires, which could put some homes in danger.

"The fire danger is so high," said Mark Struble, spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management. "All the fuels - the grass, brush and trees - have dried out about a month earlier than usual.

"If we got a lightning strike, the fires are going to move fast and hot."

He said the homes most at risk of wildfire damage are those adjacent to BLM or U.S. Forest Service land.

The Fire Education Corps, a branch of the Student Conservation Association, is planning to work with homeowners to reduce that risk.

The corps will arrive on June 25 and begin work a few days later. They will patrol areas and teach residents to become fire conscious.

Once a homeowner agrees to an evaluation, two or three team members spend at least an hour with the homeowner, suggesting changes to aid in fire prevention.

"We always say the home you save may be your own," Struble said. "There's a lot of things people can do to save their property."

First, the team looks at roads surrounding the home to evaluate fire engine-access and possible escape routes.

Next, the team reviews the vegetation around the structure. They recommend that a homeowner create 30 feet of defensible space - a space clear of heavy or dry vegetation and storage or building materials - around the house in each direction.

The team carefully questions each homeowner about the occupants of the household, pets and livestock, vehicles, family medical problems that would render people unable to evacuate, and the location of water, power and gas lines. All information is recorded and given to local fire departments.

The Fire Education Corps, winner of the 2003 National Fire Plan's Award for Excellence in Community Assistance, is a program of the Student Conservation Association, the largest conservation service in the country.

Each member of the corps works more than 40 hours a week and receives a small stipend to cover basic living expenses.

Contact Teri Vance at or at 881-1272.


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