In a normal year, fire officials would advise rural homeowners to wait until spring to Firewise their property.
But this summer has seen such extreme wildfire devastation across the Northwest that PEMCO recommends you don’t wait.
If your property needs brush cleared, trees de-limbed, and a buffer of defensible space cleared around your home, do it this fall before snow starts piling up. You'll get a head start on preventing fire next year.
The Kittitas County Conservation Council agrees: Firewising in October-November, after the current fire threat diminishes, is “a great idea.”
You probably know by now that Firewise practices include:
- Clear a 30-foot buffer around your home void of brush, bushes, weeds, tall grasses, and beauty bark.
- Keep that zone well-watered during spring and summer.
- Remove any branches that hang over structures.
- Within 200 feet of your home, remove all mature-tree branches within 15 feet of the ground.
- If you stack firewood, keep it at least 30 feet from your home, and (if possible) uphill.
Other Firewise principles advise that you create non-flammable landscaping, ensure fire trucks can easily use your driveway, and make your address is clearly visible from the road.
As of today, the government’s Incident Information System reports that the largest Washington wildfires range from 80% - 97% containment. That includes the Wolverine Fire west of Lake Chelan, which flared up so intensely during the Aug. 2 Seafair hydroplane races that we clearly saw the smoke plume from the shores of Lake Washington, 84 miles away.
I have lots of Firewising to do at my own property near Cle Elum. October will be the perfect time with its cooler days, and no biting bugs or yellowjackets. Starting now means less work – and less fire risk – for me next year.