Wednesday, July 25, 2012
A wildland-urban interface refers to the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. Communities that are within a half-mile of the zone may also be included.
Homeowners in these zones and communities adjacent to and surrounded by wildlands are at risk of wildfires.
Creating defensible space around your home is the best way to protect your home from wildfire in the wildland-urban interface, according to Hood River Fire Marshal Peter Mackwell.
The first 30 feet surrounding your home — referred to as the primary ignition zone — is the most critical and there are some simple actions that a homeowner can take to help protect their homes from wildfire that are easy, quick, and relatively inexpensive, such as:
n Removing dead and dying debris — particularly from places that it piles up near the home such as in gutters and planters, any “valleys” that can catch debris that embers and sparks can blow onto — the most common way for a wildfire to damage or destroy a home in the wildland-urban interface.
n Storing firewood at least 20 feet away from the home or completely covering it to protect it from those same blowing embers and sparks.
n Properly maintaining the plants that are in the area — pruning, removing dead and dying materials, and keeping them well-watered and green.
A defensible space also allows room for firefighters to fight the fire safely.
Protecting your home from wildfire falls into three categories:
n using fire-resistant building materials (such as roofing)
n reducing fuels around your home (such as wood piles)
n planting fire-resistant plants in your landscape
While these steps do not ensure that your home will survive a wildfire, they substantially increase the chances that it will.
If you have additional questions regarding wildland fire safety, come by the fire station located at 1785 Meyer Parkway or call the fire station at 541-386-3939.
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Lawnmower torches Arbor Vitae on Portland Drive
The riding lawn mower driven by Norma Cannon overheated and made contact with dry arbor vitae owned by Lee and Norma Curtis, sending more than a dozen of the tightly-packed trees up in flames. The mower, visible at far right, was totaled. No one was injured; neighbors first kept the fire at bay with garden hoses and Westside and Hood River Fire Departments responded and doused the fire before it reached any structures. Westside Fire chief Jim Trammell, in blue shirt, directs firefighters. The video was taken by Capt. Dave Smith of Hood River Fire Department. Enlarge