CAL-FIRE offers tips for safe brush-clearing
June 4, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – CAL FIRE has sent a warning advising homeowners to use caution when clearing dead brush and grass. While creating defensible space is a critical step to prepare for wildfire season, as fire danger rises, unsafe use of power equipment can actually start a fire.
In fact, CAL FIRE’S Mike Mohler told ECM, the Banner Fire that charred 5,321 acres near Julian last week was caused by brush-clearing equipment.
“The spark from the metal blade of a lawn mower against a rock can easily ignite a wildfire,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of CAL FIRE. “While it’s important to clear dead grass and brush, we don’t want homeowners doing the right thing the wrong way.
CAL FIRE officials say the fire serves as a reminder of how dry conditions are and how extra vigilance is needed to prevent wildfires. Homeowners are urged to take advantage of this week’s cooler weather to ensure they have cleared all dead or dying vegetation before increasing temperatures return.
CAL FIRE offers the following tips to prevent fires from equipment use:
· Do yard maintenance with powered equipment before 10 a.m., not during the heat of the day or when the wind is blowing.
· Never use lawn mowers on dry grass or brush.
· Remove any rocks in and around the area before operating equipment.
· Be sure your portable gas powered equipment has a spark arrester.
· Never re-fuel while equipment is still hot from use
· Keep the equipment maintained and free of carbon and other buildup.
For more steps on how to prepare for fire season visit www.ReadyForWildfire.org.