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Proper and safe use of equipment

Are you doing the right thing the wrong way; for example, trying to eliminate the fire hazards around your home and in the process starting a wildland fire?

Each year Cal Fire responds to more than 1,600 fires started by Californians using equipment the wrong way.

Whether working to create a defensible space around your home, just mowing the lawn, or pulling your dirt bike over to the side of the road, if you live in a wildland area you need to use all equipment responsibly.

Lawn mowers, weedeaters, chain saws, grinders, welders, tractors, and trimmers can all spark a wildland fire. Do your part, the right way, to keep your community fire safe.

The right way:

*  Do all yard maintenance that requires a gas or electrical motor before 10 a.m.

*  Not in the heat of the day, or when the wind is blowing!

*  Lawn mowers are designed to mow lawns.

*  Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.

*  Use a weed trimmer to cut down dry weeds and grass.

*  Remove rocks in the area before you begin operating any equipment. A rock hidden in grass or weeds is enough to start a fire when struck by a metal blade.

*  In wildland areas, spark arresters are required on all portable gasoline powered equipment including tractors, harvesters, chain saws, weedeaters, mowers, motorcycles, and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).

*  Keep the exhaust system, spark arresters and mower in proper working order and free of carbon buildup. Use the recommended grade of fuel and don’t top off.

*  Keep the engine free of oil and dust, and keep the mower free of flammable materials.

*  In wildland areas, a permit may be required for grinding and welding operations, and spark shields may be required on equipment. Be sure to have 10 feet of clearance, a 46”round point shovel, and a backpump water-type fire extinguisher ready to use.

*  Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires you won’t even see, until it’s too late!

*  Don’t pull off into dry grass or brush.

*  Keep a cell phone nearby and call 911 immediately in case of a fire.

Details: fire.ca.gov.

- Cal Fire

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