Chief’s Corner: Getting ready for summer; now’s the time at Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Chief’s Corner: Getting ready for summer; now’s the time at Lake Tahoe

Sean Bailey
Chief’s Corner
The Angora Fire burns through a South Lake Tahoe neighborhood in 2007.
Northstar Fire Department

You may have noticed the flowers are blooming and the birds are chirping, and it’s only February.

With no storms forecasted for the near future, now is a great time to start thinking about defensible space and home hardening.

For those of you that are new to our area, defensible space is the buffer a homeowner creates between the structures on their property and fuel for a wildfire. This buffer helps to protect and increase the chance of the structure’s survival from a fire.

You can save a lot of aggravation by getting scheduled with a defensible space contractor or doing the work yourself before summer hits. Trying to find an available defensible space contractor after receiving a violation from the fire department or worse, a non-renewal from your homeowners’ insurance company can be a stressful time, especially if the work requires the removal of trees.

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If your residence is not adequately protected, a single ember through an attic vent screen, for instance, is enough to destroy your home.

In addition to making sure your defensible space is compliant, homeowners should consider “hardening” their home against wildfire. “Home hardening” is another way to reduce the threat to your structure from a wildfire. Hardening your home against a wildfire begins by looking at your home from the perspective of wind-blown embers.

Property owners should choose appropriate building materials and design features that will increase the resistance to ignition from ember showers. Embers can travel up to three miles ahead of a fire front. If your residence is not adequately protected, a single ember through an attic vent screen, for instance, is enough to destroy your home.

I urge every homeowner in the Truckee/Tahoe area to go to their fire department’s website for information on defensible space requirements and home hardening tips.

Here are a few other helpful links:

https://www.tahoelivingwithfire.com

https://www.firesafemarin.org/images/documents/home_survival_in_wildfire_prone_areas_8939.pdf

https://www.northstarcsd.org/media/Fire/Documents/WF_California_Northstar.pdf

Enjoy the summer, as soon as it gets here, but remember to be fire safe.

Sean Bailey is the fire chief for the Northstar Fire Department.


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