Fire Safe Council advises ‘brush bashing,’ early morning yard work to avoid fires |

Fire Safe Council advises ‘brush bashing,’ early morning yard work to avoid fires

An extended California drought means a fire season without end, according to the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County.

Massive wildfires scorching the state this year have local leaders on watch. The county Board of Supervisors is examining amendments to its hazardous vegetation ordinance in their efforts to curb grass and brush, the fuel that gives fires life.

Joanne Drummond, executive director of the local Fire Safe Council, said homeowners can act now to protect their property.

According to Drummond, the worst fires tear through the state between September and November. A spark from a hot weed trimmer potentially can start a blaze.

“We are really in the height of fire season,” she said.

Drummond advises homeowners to avoid any yard work after 10 a.m. People also should have a fire extinguisher with them when they’re in the yard.

Homeowners also can be proactive. Larik Butyrin, the council’s defensible space advisor, uses a method he calls “brush bashing” — knocking low-hanging limbs to the ground.

Removing those ladder fuels helps reduce the chance a fire could climb high into a treeline. Flames above 6 to 8 feet require firefighters to attack the blaze from the air, which increases the cost of fighting the blaze, Drummond said.

“It has to do with cost,” she added. “It has to do with the catastrophic nature of that type of fire.”

Homeowners also could completely remove the fuel from their property.

People already are required by the state to keep a 100-foot area around their homes clear of combustible vegetation. Drummond said it allows firefighters to get into the area and attack the blaze. It also provides a buffer between a burning home and nearby woods.

“The beautiful thing is, it also works in reverse,” Drummond said, noting a woods fire is less prone to reach a home with the buffer intact.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email or call 530-477-4239.

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