Page 2 Trinity County Resource Conservation District Winter 1996-1997
within the defensible space to aheight of 10 feet above theground. Also, remove shrubs,small trees, or other potential“ladder” fuels from beneath largetrees; left in place these can carrya ground fire into tree crowns.8. Trim branches whichextend over the eaves of your roof.remove branches within 15 feet of a chimney.
9. Clean roof and guttersof pine needles and leaves toeliminate an ignition source forfirebrands, especially during thehot, dry weather of the fire season.10. Reduce intensity of surrounding forest at least 100feet out from homesite (it ispreferable to thin your entire lot).Thin trees so crowns do not toucheach other.
Home Fire Protection
It is important to create adefensible space around houses onforested homesites. Fire hazardcan be reduced if you follow thethese safety guidelines:1. Create a 30-foot bufferzone around the house by thinningtrees and brush cover toacceptable levels. Adequatethinning is when the outer edges of tree crowns are at least 10 to 12feet apart. Occasional clumps of 2or 3 trees are permitted foraesthetic reasons if more spacesurrounds them. Small patches of brush or shrubs may be left if theyare separated by at least 10 feet of irrigated grass or noncombustablematerial. If your home is on aslope, enlarge the defensible space,especially on the downhill side. If it is located at the crest of a steephill, thin fuels at least 100 feet
Fuels (Continued from page 1)
Protection (CDF), and theWatershed Center in Hayfork tobegin work on eight adjacentproperties along Hyampom road inHayfork.The “natural” look of denseundergrowth and dark, tangledmasses of bushes and trees isreally quite un-natural. It is onlyrecently that aggressive fire-suppression campaigns gave fire abad name and
made it the forest’sdeadliest foe. In actuality, naturallyoccurring fires can be a friend toforest habitat, and NativeAmericans have long viewed fireas a forest-friendly tool for reducing the risk of catastrophicfires, for regenerating certainconifers, and restoring nutrients tothe soil. Ironically, the risk of disastrous fires has increased inthe wake of fire-suppression effortsof the last thirty years or so. Thisyear’s major fires in both Northern
below the crest.2. Dispose of all slash anddebris left from thinning. Commondisposal methods are a. lop and scatter(cut debris into small pieces anddisperse over area to acceleratedecomposition); b. pile and burn (onlywhen moisture is sufficient to preventfire spread); and c. chipping.3. Remove dead limbs, leaves,and other ground litter within thedefensible space.4. Stack firewood uphill and atleast 15 feet from your home.5. Maintain an irrigatedgreenbelt immediately around yourhome using grass, flower gardens, orornamental shrubbery. An alternativeis rock or other noncombustablematerial; avoid bark or wood chipmulch in this area.6. Mow dry grasses and weedsto a height of 2 inches or less and keepthem well watered, especially duringperiods of high fire danger.7. Prune branches from trees
and Southern California bear witness to this fact.Fuels reduction is seen asa safe alternative to controlledburning, which, as in the raging1996 Montana fires, can get out of hand and lead to uncontrolled,catastrophic burning over largeareas. Fuels reduction addressesthe problem of fire “ladders” (denseunderbrush and lower tree limbs)without the risk of sparking wildfire.It
labor-intensive,however. A crew of five TCRCDemployees worked for nearly amonth in the dense undergrowthalong Hyampom road, sawinglimbs, clearing manzanita, thinningtrees and running cut materialthrough a “chipper” to turn the cutbranches into mulch. Butlandowners and others seriouslyinterested in reducing the risk of fire in the area agree it was wellworth the effort.Once work got underwayon one property interest spread likewildfire among neighbors of ChuckGeorge, who signed on early in theproject. Residents agree that notonly are they safer from the risk of fire, but the clearing of underbrushand debris gives their properties anew, park-like atmosphere: viewsof tangled undergrowth have turnedto clear views up hillsides andthrough trees where one can catcha glimpse of Don and MaryAnnCoon’s beautiful white alpine-stylehome festooned with balustrades,birdfeeders, and curving walkways.
The TCRCD will continuespreading the news about fuelsreduction and in February expectsto begin work on other Hayforkproperty with a CDF Stewardshipgrant.This grant is a cost-sharingprogram and landowners will beexpected to contribute at least 25% of the total cost of doing thework.