#happylife: Keep your property safe from wildfire dangers this summer

#happylife: Keep your property safe from wildfire dangers this summer

Wildfires are, unfortunately, nothing new to the Inland Northwest. That’s why local fire officials want to make sure you are prepared for fire season.

You can make a big difference in helping stop fires from continuing to spread. Firefighters from Spokane County Fire District 9 said it’s all about creating a survivable space and maintaining it.

Survivable space is defined by US Fish and Wildlife service as, “the area between a house and an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat and to provide an opportunity for firefighters to effectively defend the house.”

Sometimes, it can just be a homeowner’s properly maintained yard.

SCFD9 assistant chief Doug Bleeker said the number one thing to remember when it comes to creating and maintaining a survivable space is to keep 30 feet of healthy, green grass between your home and any nearby wooded area or undeveloped land.

Bleeker said to also remember the three “Rs” to protect your property even further.

1. REMOVAL – of dead or downed trees from the property.
2. REDUCTION – of branches or leaves off trees. Limbing branches about 8 feet off the ground is recommended, as is pruning any dead leaves from existing shrubs.
3. REPLACEMENT – of any hazardous vegetation and flammable shrubs. Make sure you are planting an irrigated, well maintained flower bed.

Here are some more do’s and don’ts when it comes to wildfire preparation and your property:

1. DO thin out your trees to open up a timber canopy
2. DON’T keep any wood piles reserved for winter months in close proximity to your house
3. DON’T leave pine needles and leaves on your roof or in your gutters
4. DON’T leave out porch decorations or furniture should you be notified of a fire in your area or receive and evacuation order.

All of these do’s and don’ts can easily catch embers and help to ignite your home.