Drought, winds, and record temperatures are creating a “perfect storm” for wildfires in San Benito County and firefighters are urging residents to take precautions. With wildfires raging throughout San Diego County, Californians are gearing up for a long and hot summer. In San Benito County, dry grass and expansive rangelands are prime areas for wildfires.
Residents are urged to use common sense and not light fires, throw cigarettes or park cars on dry grass. Following are some basic tips to protect your home from a fire:
• Maintain 100 feet of Defensible Space around all structures.
• Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters.
• Trim branches six feet from the ground.
• Landscape with fire resistant / drought tolerant plants, that require little water
• Remove branches away from roofs and 10 feet from the chimney.
• Use trimming, mowing and powered equipment before 10 a.m., and not on hot, windy days.
• Keep wood piles and flammable materials at least 30 feet from the home.
For more information, contact the Hollister Fire Department.
The early wildfire season this year, with thousands of acres currently burning throughout the state, makes wildfire is a reality throughout California and for many communities within San Benito County. May 4th – 10 was designated by Governor Jerry Brown and CAL FIRE as Wildfire Awareness Week to promote wildfire safety, education and prevention.
The Santa Clara County FireSafe Council (SCFSC), a non-profit organization dedicated to wildfire prevention, is working with fire agencies and other partners to reach out to residents with their “Defensible Space Chipping Programs” and Community Outreach and Education Programs. In 2013, these programs reduced hazardous fuels in selected areas, helped protect 3,900 homes, 11,700 people and $3.9 billion in property values of neighboring Santa Clara County.
“A large number of wildfires are human caused and therefore preventable,” said FireSafe Council President, Jerry Serpa, Assistant Chief with the Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department.
“There are wildfires burning throughout the state and we have battled several small grass fires in our area. We face another long, risky fire season and need residents to be smart and engage in fire-safe activities.”
To learn more about free Defensible Space Chipping Programs or volunteer with the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council, visit www.SCCFireSafe.org or call (408) 975-9591.