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Weekly PSA - Prevent Accidental Wildfires
updated: May 28, 2014, 3:15 PM

Source: SBC Fire Department

Defensible space is the required space between a structure and the wildland area. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department reminds people that under normal conditions, defensible space creates a sufficient buffer to slow or halt the spread of wildfire to a structure.

Annual grasses within the defensible space can act as a ladder fuel to spread fire from low-level vegetation into tree branches. Cut or mow annual grasses down to a maximum height of 4 inches. It is very important to remember to only cut dry weeds and grasses when temperatures are cooler and humidity's are higher. This greatly reduces the chance of sparking an accidental fire.

Recent wildfire statistics show that the most likely source of wildland fires is mowers, weed eaters, chain saws, grinders, welders, cutters, tractors, and vehicles. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department offers the following safety tips:

• Maintain Vehicle Brakes: never let brake pads wear thin and become metal on metal. • Careless Parking: never park vehicles too closely to or on dry grass. • Tow Safely: dragging tow chains throws sparks. Use only appropriate towing equipment. • Check Tire Pressure: driving on an exposed wheel rim after a blowout can throw sparks. • Chainsaw Spark: ensure chainsaws and other equipment has approved spark arrestors. • Cutting, Welding and Grinding: use this equipment with a minimum of 15 feet of clearance. • Use the Right Equipment: use string vegetation trimmers to cut tall, dry grass. • Remove Rocks: metal mower blades hitting rocks start wildfires. • Be Ready: have water and a fire extinguisher readily available. • Report All Fires: report the location, what is burning, how fast the fire is moving, what is in danger, and stay on the phone.

Ninety four percent of wildfires are human-caused. Each citizen has the responsibility to prevent human-caused wildfires and to protect their own property by creating a defensible space around their homes.


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