TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — You can feel helpless against the power of a wildfire but KGUN9 On Your Side has advice from an expert on steps to take now that will help protect your home from a fire.
The Bighorn Fire burned nearly 120 thousand acres. That’s more than 187 square miles.
A huge effort by firefighters kept it away from homes.
And firefighters say there are ways to help your home survive when a wildfire comes close.
Rural Metro Fire Department protects a lot of territory where wild land comes next to homes.
Rural Metro Battalion Chief John Walka says don’t let vegetation carry fire to your house. Keep tall grass and overhanging trees at least 30 feet from your walls. The yard doesn’t have to be bare, just short and well watered.
The Chief says embers can fly up to a mile from the main part of the fire. They can land under the edges of a roof or even come through gaps to start a fire in your attic.
He says, “Clear away any kind of debris that's around here, even birds nests and such. That's a good idea, but it depends on the eaves. Sometimes people have screens and guards that they can put underneath their eaves if they're close to a wildfire threat. And that helps out a lot as far as not allowing those firebrands and those embers to float in underneath the roofline.”
He says sometimes older people are not able to do the yard work required to improve their fire safety.
“We usually see those people are more usually at risk for wildfire. So you know if you've got older folks, family members and such that are in that situation, you might want to check on them and help them out.
These suggestions and more are outlined in a fire safety program called “Firewise”. You can learn more at this link.
And Chief Walka says if a fire does come close, keeping up with these fire precautions will help firefighters save your house.
Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 30 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.
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