Fire Safe Council offers safety tips |

Fire Safe Council offers safety tips

Submitted to The Union

Are you doing the right thing — the wrong way?

Getting rid of the fire hazards around your home is a good idea — but you need to do it properly, or you could accidentally start a wildland fire.

Each year, fire departments respond to thousands of fires started by people using equipment the wrong way.

Whether working to create defensible space around your home, just mowing dry grass 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.

Here's how to do it the right way:

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Mow before 10 a.m. If it's too hot for you, it's too hot to mow. Don't mow during the heat of the day or when the wind is blowing.

Beware — Lawn mowers are designed to mow lawns, not dry grass, weeds or rocks. A grass-hidden rock is enough to start a fire when struck by a metal blade. Remove rocks from the area before you begin mowing.

In wildland areas, spark arresters are required on all portable gasoline-powered equipment. This includes tractors, harvesters, chain saws, weedeaters and mowers.

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 it off.

In wildland areas, grinding and welding operations require a permit plus 10 feet of clearance, a 46-inch round point shovel and a backpack water-type fire extinguisher — all ready to use.

Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires you won't even see — until it's too late! Don't drive your vehicle onto dry grass or brush.

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

For more firewise tips, visit the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County's web- site at

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