FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2010
Homeowners urged to take action early
Safety zones can defend homes from wildfire
OLYMPIA – With unseasonably warm weather in the Northwest and wildfire season right around the corner, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is encouraging homeowners to act early to protect their homes and property.
“Before wildfire season is upon us, we are encouraging people to take steps to create defensible space around their homes,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “Early action could save your home, as well as protect firefighters from wildfire.”
Outdoor burning is a leading cause for wildfire starts. DNR would also like to caution landowners when burning outdoors, smoke can be trapped under the higher pressure air above and pollute the air quality. When outdoor burning, know and follow the burning regulations that are specific to your area.
Steps to reduce wildfire threat
- To reduce the risk of wildfire, homeowners should keep their grass green and trimmed, and prune tree branches and vegetation away from the house. Limb trees approximately 6’ to 10’ from the base, depending on the height of the tree.
- Move wood piles away from structures, such as homes, fencing, and outbuildings. Make sure gutters and roofs are free of debris. Also make sure there is a spark arrester on the chimney, and enclose eaves and vents to prevent spark entry.
- If the roof needs to be replaced, consider using non-combustible or fire resistant materials, such as Class A asphalt shingles or metal. As for windows, tempered glass is best against heat, but make sure any skylights are screened as they are often made of plastic and will melt.
For additional information on how to create defensible space around your home or community, contact your local DNR office for these free materials:
- Fire Resistant Plants for Home Landscapes publication
- DVD, Naturally Beautiful Fire Resistant Greenbelt Landscapes, and its companion brochure, When Yard Work Works For You
- DVD on outdoor burning, In the Line of Duty
Your local landscape and nursery professional is another great source for landscaping tips. You can also log on to www.firewise.org for more information on fire behavior and ways to reduce the risk of wildfire to your home and property.
DNR’s wildfire mission
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR is responsible for preventing and fighting wildfires on 12.7 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. DNR is the state’s largest on-call fire department, with over a thousand employees trained and available to be dispatched to fires as needed. During fire season, this includes over 700 hundred DNR employees who have other permanent jobs with the agency and about 375 seasonal workers. Additionally, Department of Correction inmates participate in the DNR Correctional Camps Program. DNR also participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting.
Media Contact: Janet Pearce, Outreach and Education, 360-902-1122, firstname.lastname@example.org
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