Firewise Madera County Coordinator Roger Maybee can’t emphasize enough the need for people to have defensible space around their homes, and to ‘harden’ them from wildfires.
With eight to 10 weeks left in fire season, Maybee points to the more than 10,000 firefighters battling six large wildfires in the state. As of Tuesday, these fires have scorched more than 200,000 acres and destroyed nearly 750 structures, a vivid reminder of how important defensible space is, and having homes ‘hardened’ against wildfire.
“You have seen the major wildfires all over California, and we are not out of the woods yet just because the nights are a little cooler,” Maybee said. “People are losing their homes and most prized possessions. We are in a five-year drought, and dead and dying trees add to the already volatile fuel in the area. I would seriously urge people to have at least a 100-foot clearance around their homes. If you don’t do this, you are facing catastrophic loss and putting your family at risk.”
Maybee also reminded Mountain Area residents to have an evacuation plan, to pack a ‘go kit,’ and sign up for MC Alert (559-642-3201).
Beyond defensible space, Maybee stresses the need for people to ‘harden’ their home against wildfires.
“It’s embers that can carry over a half mile that are most likely to destroy your home,” Maybee said. “Fire embers ignite 90% or more of the homes and structures lost in wildfires.”
Maybee recommends homeowners start cleaning the chimney and work your way down.
“Clean up and remove all flammable debris off your roof,” Maybee said. “Clean your gutters. Clean your eaves. Clean the walls. Work down to the ground, and do it on a very regular basis. Now work out from your home and structures and clear all combustible flammable material out at least 30 ... then 100 feet by law ... then 200 feet. Even with no action taken by firefighters or emergency personnel your hardened home is much more likely to survive a wildfire intact.”
Maybee added it’s up to all homeowners to protect their homes and help protect firefighters.
“They can’t do it all without your help,” Maybee said.