As wildfire season approaches, simple tasks like trimming back trees, shrubs and bushes and creating defensible space around a home or business can help make neighborhoods and communities safer.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Safety Action Center website offers easy-to-use educational videos and visual guides with tips on how to create defensible space, which is the buffer area between a home and any vegetation or material that could fuel a wildfire.
David Hawks, a Senior Public Safety Specialist at PG&E, explains that once the rainy season is over, homeowners need to start evaluating their property for fire hazards.
“Spring is the right time to create defensible space around your home. You can start by cutting or removing flammable vegetation, such as dry grass, leaves and needles that could ignite from embers, and by significantly reducing vegetation that could enable a fire spread in the coming summer months,” said Hawks, who is based in Chico.
According to the Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County, creating defensible space around your home does not mean you need a ring of bare dirt surrounding your property. With proper planning, you can have a fire safe home and a beautiful landscape. The general concept is that trees should be kept farthest from the house, shrubs can be closer, and lawns and bedding plants can be the closest.
There are several easy ways any homeowner can prepare their property for the threat of wildfires including: regularly clearing your roof and rain gutters by removing dead leaves and pine needles; strategically landscaping with fire-resistant plants to keep things lean and green in the area within 30 feet of your home; trimming tree branches that hang over your roof.
For more preparedness resources, visit PG&E's Safety Action Center, which provides information to help customers keep their families, homes, and businesses safe during natural disasters and other emergencies. The site includes tips on how to create a personalized emergency plan, what to pack in an emergency supply kit, and how to prepare in advance for power outages and Public Safety Power Shutoff events.
To learn more, visit safetyactioncenter.pge.com.