Washington County Offers Tips To Avoid House Fires
We've already had several notable fires in Southern Utah this spring, and there's no doubt more are on the way, with dry air and dry fuel in the region.
Luckily, there has been little loss of property and no loss of life in the spate of fires we've seen so far. That's likely to change, unless we take a few small steps to help mitigate the danger.
The Washington County Emergency Services Department is offering up a collection of tips for citizens of our county to help avoid fires, especially the kind that spread from vegetation to structures.
Department director Jason Whipple said, "We are still working on Zone 0-5 -- the home itself. This can be a big job, so just take it one task at a time."
Here are some of the fire prevention tips for zones 0-5:
Immediate zone (very near the house)
- Clean roofs and gutter of debris
- Replace missing roof tiles or shingles (to prevent ember penetration)
- Install 1/8th inch mesh screening for roof vents
- Clean debris from attic vents
- Repair or replace broken window screens and/or windows
- Screen or box in areas below patios and decks
- Move any flammable materials away from exterior walls
- Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches
Intermediate zone (5-30’ from the furthest exterior point of the home)
- Clear vegetation from under large stationary propane tanks.
- Create fuel breaks with driveways, walkways/paths, patios, and decks.
- Keep lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches.
- Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees) so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns. Prune trees up to six to ten feet from the ground; for shorter trees do not exceed 1/3 of the overall tree height.
- Space trees to have a minimum of eighteen feet between crowns with the distance increasing with the percentage of slope.
- Tree placement should be planned to ensure the mature canopy is no closer than ten feet to the edge of the structure.
- Tree and shrubs in this zone should be limited to small clusters of a few each to break up the continuity of the vegetation across the landscape.
Extended zone (30-100 feet, out to 200 feet)
- Dispose of heavy accumulations of ground litter/debris.
- Remove dead plant and tree material.
- Remove small conifers growing between mature trees.
- Remove vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings within this area.
- Trees 30 to 60 feet from the home should have at least 12 feet between canopy tops.*
- Trees 60 to 100 feet from the home should have at least 6 feet between the canopy tops.*
The website Firewise.org offers plenty more tips in protecting your home from getting caught in a spreading fire.
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