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Eliminating fuel sources cuts fire risks

Sun Advocate reporter

A brush fire burns during the evening hours in Wellington city. Local fire officials recommend that all citizens develop a defensible space around their property.

Local fire officials remind Carbon County residents that spring cleanup can be an effective way to reduce fire fuels within private property.

Specifically, federal, state and local fire officials are urging residents who have homes or structures along the urban interface and in forested areas to protect the property by creating a defensible space around it.

According to a press release issued by the state, wildfire hazards around the home can be reduced by simple spring cleanup projects around the yard and regular maintenance of the home.

The state reports that residents can begin by cutting branches touching the home to get them away from the structure in order to stop wildfire from igniting the roof.

In Utah, wildfires can happen in remote and urban areas.

State officials point out that homeowners have the responsibility to make the private properties safe from wildfire by taking proactive steps. The press release stipulates that the combination of new homes being built in wildland areas and vegetation overgrowing older subdivisions make wildfires increasingly more difficult to fight.

"With spring here, now is a great time to take action to prepare your property to survive the potential damage caused by wildfires," said Tracy Dunford, fire management officer for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands. "The best action homeowners can take is to create a space around their homes or cabins that may allow the property to survive a wildfire without firefighter assistance. This is known as a defensible space."

County fire warden Rudy Sandoval and several members of the DFFSL have been working non-stop to initiate local community wildfire protection plans.

The community based plans help to enhance fire protection through improved prevention practices and public education, improved coordination within the community; development of long-term strategies and reduction of the potential for and the consequences of wildfire.

Recent detailing of projects to the city of East Carbon include thinning treatments, pile burning and prescribed burns along with maintenance.

While this work will go along way to protect the city and county property more can be done on an individual basis to improve fire safety on private property.

Property owners can create a defensible space in the following ways.

•Cleaning out gutters, sweep decks and clean roofs.

These places can catch wind driven embers that will ignite the home.

•Removing leaf clutter and branches overhanging the roof.

Vegetation should not touch the home according to the state press release.

•Making certain that there are no flammable materials within three to five feet around the stucture.

•Disposing of plant debris according to local regulations.

•Keeping grass cut short and well watered within a 30-foot radius of structures.

•Storing firewood way from the house.

•Organizing a neighborhood cleanup day.

This will help the entire community and provide better fire protection for private property.

•Contact local fire departments or agency offices for more specific information.

"Reasearch has shown that homes with defensible space, free of flammable fuels can often survive a wildfire. Defensible space later offers firefighters the advantage of extra room to operate equipment to safely reach and extinguish any active fire when they check the home after the fire passes," explained Dunford.

According to the state, there are many other things an individual can do when landscaping their yard or remodeling their home. These actions will add to the safety of the home and the likelihood firefighters will be able to defend it. For more information and tips about fire safe landscaping go to or

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