Defensible space … is it time to get tough?
June 28, 2007
Stories on defensible space have been common in this and other newspapers this year as agencies and municipalities work to encourage homeowners to get on board. Creating those barriers between homes and fire fuels have shown their worth time after time.
But even with all that publicity, fire officials can easily point to a number of homes in Carson City and surrounding areas that would stand little chance against a fast moving fire.
That would be less of a concern if the consequences were borne by only the people who own those homes. But we’ve seen the images of firefighters trying to hold the line protecting homes in the Angora fire. Sometimes they’re successful and sometimes they have to retreat. Always, they’re in danger. And if firefighters are unable to hold the line at one home, the next is in danger.
The defensible space issues around Lake Tahoe are more complex than those in the valley and there’s little doubt the policies on tree cutting set by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will undergo intense scrutiny.
But here there’s nothing preventing homeowners from creating those precious barriers that could save their homes and possibly even save lives. And if asking for cooperation from homeowners has not worked, perhaps it’s time for officials to start looking at regulations that can be enforced and that will make the jobs of our firefighters safer.
For now, we ask homeowners who live in areas susceptible to wildfires to get started on their defensible spaces. All you need to know is at this Web site: http://www.livingwithfire.info.