As Summer Rages On, Brush Clearance Becomes More Important
Homeowners can do much to protect their properties.
While summer may be nearing an end, the fire danger in Santa Clarita is rising. Often residents equate fire danger with the hottest months of the year, and breathe a sigh of relief once the fall months approach.
However, those months can be the most dangerous for brush fires.
What little rain Santa Clarita gets usually arrives in the springtime, and it is absorbed by the vegetation. For a few short weeks the plants actually turn green, and if they do come in contact with fire, they will tend to burn slowly.
As the summer heat beats down on our valley, that moisture inside the plants is slowly dried up. By August, September and October, the brush is at its driest.
Dry brush will burn very quickly, and spread flames easily. This is why many fires in the late summer months can get out of control even before fire crews arrive.
Many homes in Santa Clarita back up to wild land and the brush that surrounds the property needs to be cleared to prevent wildfires from having an easy path to the structures.
The importance of this was witnessed during the three acre fire in Sand Canyon two weeks ago. Four homes were in the area of the blaze, however each had the taken the recommended brush clearance steps, and therefore the fire was stopped in its tracks.
Los Angeles County fire officials are urging homeowners to clear brush around their homes, especially now, as the heaviest fire months are still ahead.
Below are some tips for protecting your home.
- Remove flammable vegetation and other combustible growth within 30 ft. of any structures. Increase to 50 ft. in high hazard areas. Thin out or remove other vegetation an additional 70 ft. from structures for a total of 100 ft. (200 ft. in high hazard areas).
- Single trees, ornamental shrubbery and ground covers may be permitted provided they do not readily transmit fire from native vegetation to structures.
- Landscape with plants that are drought tolerant and fire resistant.
- Maintain plants!
- Space trees and shrubs a minimum of 15 ft. apart or three times their diameter from other shrubs.
- Trees should be spaced to allow to minimum of 30 ft. between canopies at maturity.
- Trees taller than 18 ft., prune lower branches within 6 ft. of the ground.
- For trees and shrubs of less than 18 ft., prune lower branches to one-third of their height.
- Maintain all plants by regularly removing dead branches and leaves.
- Remove all stacks of combustible materials.
- Stack wood at least 30 ft. from structures. Remove flammable vegetation within 10 ft. of woodpiles.
- Located fixed butane/propane tanks at least 10 ft. from any structure and maintain 10 ft. of clearance.
- Identify at least two exit routes from your neighborhood.
- Post road signs to show traffic restrictions such as dead-end roads and height and weight limits.
- Clear back flammable vegetation at least 10 ft. from roads and driveways.
- Cut overhanging tree branches about roads to provide minimum of 16 ft. of clearance.
- Make sure street names and numbers are visible at intersections.