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What you need to know to prevent fires

Local News

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS (ABC4 Utah News) -Fire season in Utah is in full swing with numerous wildfires and house fires in just the last week. Now the Unified Fire Authority has released a list of precautions they want you to know.

“It’s summertime,” UFA spokesman Eric Holmes told ABC4 Utah News Monday. “We’re just coming out of a really wet spring and maybe people aren’t really cued in to how hot and how dry it really is already…Already we’re seeing the triple digits, the humidity is coming down, the vegetation is already drying out.”

To avoid igniting that grass and brush, don’t throw cigarette butts on the ground, don’t drive vehicles over dry grass, don’t shoot firearms into dry areas, use a weed eater instead of a mower to cut down dried weeds or grass because the metal blade can produce sparks and Holmes says clear your property at least 10 yards from your house.

“You want 30 feet of defensible space,” Holmes said. “That means very low-lying vegetation or very well watered vegetation. You want to limb up really large trees or get rid of them completely.  Any wood piles, propane tanks, any large scale debris that you have around your home needs to be as far away as possible and that gives firefighters the best change possible of saving that structure.”

Holmes showed us an example of what he means.

“Let’s just pretend for a moment that there’s a house within 8 feet of this piece of vegetation right here,” he said, pointing to the dead limbs of a nearby tree. “This is going to pose quite a threat for us and the home itself. if we’re able to limb this up. Clear some of the dead stuff out of the way and kind of shape it a little better to where it won’t pose such a threat, that is going to be our best line of defense in fighting any fire.”

Here is the complete list provided by the Unified Fire Authority:

Precautions:

·       When the temp is up and the humidity is down, we have “red flag warnings”. Simply, the chance of ignition is greatly increased

·       Don’t throw cigarette butts on ground

·       Don’t shoot firearms into dry areas (target shooting)

·       Use extreme caution when cooking outside.

·       Do not drive cars/truck/atv/side by sides over dried grasses. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires you won’t even see.

·       Try to do yard maintenance (with gas motors) before 10 am. This will also help with heat related health issues.

·       Don’t use a mower to cut down dried weeds or grasses. Metal blade can strike rocks and produce sparks. Best practice is using a weed eater.

·       When possible use spark arrestors

Home safety/preparedness

·       Clear leaves/pine needles and debris from roof, gutters, eaves, porches and decks. Reduces the chance of a flying ember igniting your home.

·       Don’t give the embers an entrance, repair/replace shingles or tiles on roof. In addition, caulk any gaps or openings on roof edges. If replacing roof, DO NOT use wood shingles.

·       Cover exterior attic vents and under-eave and soffits with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8” to prevent embers entering.

·       Clear debris, equipment, storage from under decks.

·       Instead of mulch, use noncombustible items like stone or gravel or wood chips (although combustible, it will not sustain high risk fire.)

·       Create 30’ of defensible space around your home. Propane, firewood, large trees, shrubs, dry and dead vegetation. Give us a chance!!

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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