Clark County Fire District 3 has responded to four significant incidents in the past month
BRUSH PRAIRIE — Wildland fire season came early to Clark County this year. Clark County Fire District 3 has responded to four significant incidents in the past month. Property owners started clearing and burning debris on their property when winds whipped up and the fires got out of control. In one instance, a fire grew to dozens of acres.
Chief Scott Sorenson says that this was a good reminder for the fire district and homeowners alike to prepare for wildland fire season.
“Many of the properties in our fire district are located in that urban-wildland interface, which makes them vulnerable,” he said. “It’s important for property owners to prepare now for what is promising to be a challenging fire season.”
Rain and snow have allowed brush to grow this spring, which provides fuel for wildland fires in the summer and fall months. A few quick steps can reduce the risk of wildland fire to your home or property.
To start, firefighters and apparatus cannot go into areas where they have no egress options. Provide good access to your home and/or shop for allowing firefighting vehicles the ability to get onto your property as well as be able to turn around and leave your property.
Firefighters also need to be able to locate you in case of a 9-1-1 call. Have your address posted on your driveway entrance as well as your house.
What a homeowner may regard as just an overgrown bush near their garage (or long grass in the yard) is actually a quick burning fuel source. And for firefighters, this could mean a long fight to save the home if this fuel source should ignite. Creating a “fire barrier” to homes and outbuildings is critical. Some simple tips to protect structures are as follows:
- Maintain a 30-foot defensible space around your home.
- Keep lawns well-watered.
- Are there combustible trees or shrubs too close to your home? They may need to be pruned or removed.
- Clean gutters and roofs of any debris regularly.
- Screen off crawl spaces, attics and decks to keep them free of debris, as well as any flying embers.
- Do NOT store combustibles, such as wood piles, under your deck or near your home.
These are just basic recommendations to help emergency vehicles access your home and other structures and be resistant to wildland fires. Fire District 3 also offers a free Fire Risk Survey to provide tailored recommendations to create a defensible space. Interested parties can contact the fire district at (360) 892-2331.
Last year, Fire District 3 visited more than 300 homeowners to help them reduce the risk of wildland fires. In 2018, Fire District 3 responded to 55 local wildland fires.
Information provided by Clark County Fire District 3.