Wildfire season may have come to a calm. But fire officials say fall is the perfect time to create zones of defense around your home.
According to Jason Curry with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands, the state of Utah has had 1,318 fires so far this year. A total of 486,021 acres have burned, destroying 80 structures.
Melissa Dehaan has lived in Herriman for 18 years and during that time, has had close calls with fires three times.
“We’ve always had lots of open space around us…lots of sagebrush, weeds and it gets very dry every July and August. I do worry about fire,” said Dehaan.
Most recently, Dehaan’s home was in the evacuation zone for the Herriman fire last month, that destroyed a home in Rose Canyon.
“It was so dry. We hadn’t had rain for over a month and I was worried it would spread quickly,” said Dehaan. “Within 20 minutes, you could lose everything. We were watching the wind, because if the winds shifted, we were going to have to leave.”
That’s why Dehaan said she takes precautionary measures before fire season comes every year.
“We have a big weed trimmer, like a lawnmower, to keep the weeds trimmed down. We try to keep the grass green, so that it will not catch fire so easily,” said Dehaan. “Because so many things could happen. A car parked over some hot weeds could cause a fire. There’s lightning. In last month’s case, there were fireworks. We never do fireworks here. It’s just not worth the risk.”
The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire & State Lands offers the following tips to protecting your home from wildfires:
- Keep plantings within 3 to 5 feet of the structure to a minimum
- Make sure your chimney is screened with 1/2 inch or smaller wire mesh
- Clean rain gutters of leaves, needles, and debris. Make sure your gutters are made of noncombustible material
- Use fire resistant material to attach fences to house
- Evaluate and modify windows. They should be double pane, triple pane, or tempered glass
- Store firewood and other combustibles at least 30 feet away from your home
- All vent openings need to be covered with 1/4 inch or smaller wire mesh
- Avoid wood roofs. Use metal, tile, or asphalt
- Make hydrant, cisterns, ponds, or pools available for wildfire suppression, consider an inside sprinkler system
For more information and detailed documents on wildfire property protection, click here.