Our Northwest

Wildfire ravages Kittitas County

Friday, August 17, 2012by  Jon Osterberg

The Taylor Bridge wildfire east of Cle Elum has scorched a huge swath of homes, outbuildings, and vegetation. Officials say smoke from hot spots likely will cloud the air until the first snowfall.
     With high winds, parched undergrowth, and hilly topography suited for a fast-moving fire, there’s not much that Kittitas County homeowners could have done to protect their property.
     That shouldn’t prevent rural homeowners from taking steps to lessen the risk of a catastrophic blaze, however. You can create a fire-buffer zone to significantly boost your chances. All you need is a little time and effort to minimize fuel sources and increase access for firefighters. Read the PEMCO fact sheet titled, “Don’t let your home become fuel for a wildfire.”
   Here’s the short version: Try to create a fire buffer. Keeping a large, green lawn close to the home is ideal. Remove tree limbs that hang over your home, and on all nearby trees remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground. Clean moss and needles from your roof and gutters. Remove flammable foliage, twigs, and branches from around the home, especially on the side exposed to prevailing winds. Stack firewood well away from the home. And remember to keep storage areas clean and tidy.  

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