Fire Season Part One (AKA another day in 2020)

 

Ever Wonder what a tourist brochure would sound like if it told the truth:

a comedic postcard of South Beach during the Camp fire labeled "Welcome to Beautiful Northern California

South Beach in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore during the Camp Fire

Hello, welcome to the Bay Area! It’s September so that must mean, why yes! The air is hazy with smoke from fires burning here and there, the power is sketchy because our local power utility has too many lawsuits pending already, It’s really hot, and this year we have the added bonus of not being able to do things like head to our local beaches for relief (Because you know Rona)! It’s paradise!

Seriously though, we all love our Bay Area Home, but all locals know that September/October is when our Mediterranean climate really heats up and with the heat and the last few months of our dry season comes fires. Along with the constant threat of “The Big One” on the San Andreas, fires are part of the price we pay to live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. But we don’t have to just accept that fire is inevitable, we can take steps to actively discourage fires from coming near our homes. We also can take active steps toward keeping ourselves and our family safe before, during, and after a natural disaster.  Read on for part one of six of your yearly reminder on how to prep for fire/flood/earthquake/zombie outbreak/or whatever is left on your Apocalypse Bingo Card that 2020 hasn’t sent to us yet!

Home (the building):

-Make sure you have your 100’ of defensible space. Remember that fire needs food to continue. You can help starve a fire by,

Removing all dead/dying vegetation

Planting fire-resistant plants (A lot of local plants have evolved to be fire resistant and drought tolerant for a list check out the fire safe Marin page here)

A bee feeds in a California Poppy

Native plants like California Poppy’s are both fire-resistant and good for pollinators.

Making fire breaks that also double as decorative elements in your landscaping like gravel paths, Stone walls, Stone/concrete patios, and driveways, And make sure to use rock or mulch in flowerbeds to keep weeds down and to help halt fire.

Planting hardwood trees like pine or fire as they are less likely to ignite. Also, remove overhanging branches over your roof.

-Check your house for the following:

Is it time to re-roof? Switching out wood or shingles with a composition, metal, or tile roof will make the most fire vulnerable part of your house safer.

Are your vents covered with wire mesh and not plastic? Plastic will melt and then burn metal won’t.

Is your Chimney clean and properly covered? If you have a wood-burning chimney you should get it cleaned yearly before you need it.

Dual paneled windows especially when one pane is tempered will help keep the windows from breaking during the heat of a fire and help keep embers out of the house.

Decks need to be built of fire-resistant materials. Remember that storing flammable objects like gas cans or piles of wood under a fire-resistant porch defeats the purpose of building a porch as a fire break. Keep that space clear.

A fire pit on a fire resistant deck

A fire-resistant deck is great for defensible space and a cool fire pit.

Clear those gutters. It will make the rainy season easier on you anyway and will keep old dry leaves from igniting on your roof.

-Fences and driveways. Use fire-resistant materials. They are great opportunities to build in fire breaks.

Water supply. Make sure you have enough hoses and water sources to cover your home if necessary. If you have a well that runs on an electric pump invest in a generator. If you have a pool or pond invest in a pump that can get water onto the house if needed

Product recommendation List:

-Generac 1600 watt Bluetooth Generator (our sku 3002292)

-General 2 hp Iron water pump (our sku 4001096)

– Ace Flexogen Premium Grade hoses 100’ (our sku 72054)

– Orbit 1 pattern metal gutter cleaning wand (our sku 7399538)

– Quickrete all-purpose gravel 50lbs (our sku 5419049)

-Ace brown western Bark mulch 2 cu. Ft. (our sku 7094212)

-Stihl tools for easier landscaping (various skus)

Further reading/more information:

https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/

https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Prepare/Building/

Next Week Part Two (Before Family and Pets)

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