The residents of Lake County have lived through multiple large damaging wildland fires over the past five weeks beginning with the Rocky and Jerusalem fires, and more recently the Peterson and Grade fires.
Preliminary findings for the cause of the Peterson and Grade fires involve equipment. This means cutting dry grass or brush with mowers or trimmers that have metal blades, causing sparks when striking rocks. This is especially dangerous during these critically dry fire conditions after four years of drought. The public needs to be aware of equipment use and the dangers it presents to sparking additional wildfires. Allowing hot engines to come in contact with dry grass as well as welding or even parking your vehicle in dry grass may be enough to start a new unwanted fire.
“We are at the peak of fire season, with historic dry fuels, and extremely dangerous fire behavior,” said Scott Upton, Chief of CAL FIRE’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit. “Our firefighters have been battling these major fires from the onset, as well as a multitude of smaller fires. We need your help in preventing the next wildfire.”
Defensible space around buildings does work to assist firefighters in saving your property but this is NOT the time of year to clear brush or mow dry grass. Cut brush during the rainy season and mow or trim grass at the end of the growing season, in the spring when temperatures are low and humidity is high.
Here’s how to do it the Right Way:
- Do all yard maintenance that requires a gas or electrical motor before 10 a.m. Not in the heat of the day, or when the wind is blowing!
- Lawn mowers are designed to mow lawns. Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.
- Use a weed trimmer with a string line to cut down dry weeds and grass.
- Remove rocks in the area before you begin operating any equipment. A rock hidden in grass is enough to start a fire when struck by a metal blade.
- Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires you won’t even see, until it’s too late! Don’t pull off into dry grass or brush.
- Keep a cell phone nearby and call 911 immediately in case of a fire.
Remember, One Less Spark is One Less Wildfire. For more tips on how to prevent a wildfire, visit www.preventwildfireca.org ■