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Time for Contra Costa County homeowners to work on preventing fires

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While we may be staying home in the midst of the pandemic, preparations are starting for wildfire season.

Starting June 1, the Code Enforcement Division of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ConFire) will begin fire code compliance.

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As the conditions change and the vegetation gets drier each summer, our fire risk increases throughout our county. The Fire Prevention Bureau provides the best protection they can through code enforcement and public education.

Three key chores for homeowners

Time for Contra Costa County homeowners to work on preventing fires
Create a defensible space around your home by removing thick heavy brush, debris or vegetation to help to slow a fire from approaching your home. (Pete Cruz photo)

Every homeowner can reduce the risk of wildfires. Preparation is the best thing we can do to prevent a large fire from taking place or spreading. You can prepare your property by doing a few things: weed abatement, tree limb trimming and creating defensible space.

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Weed abatement involves trimming grasses down to 3 inches or less. Defensible space is creating space around your home by removing thick heavy brush, debris or vegetation that will help to slow a fire from approaching your home. It is, in essence, removing the fuel sources. Defensible space is especially crucial if you live on a steep or dry hillside.

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Clear tree limbs as much as possible from the ground up to 10 feet high. If a fire started on the ground and there are branches nearby, this can create a ladder effect where the fire can climb the branches. Once a fire goes to the top of a tree, it’s called a crown fire.

On a very windy day, embers or bark can travel in the air as far as a mile or more, starting fires throughout an area. This type of fire contributed to some of the significant fires throughout the state in the last fire season.

For more information

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ConFire has several guides on its website to help us all clear our properties and prepare for fire season. For more information on defensible space, visit cccfpd.org/defensible-space. For more information on general wildfire preparedness, visit ccfpd.org/ResidentsWildlandFireGuide.

If you have any additional questions, reach out to ConFire directly at info@cccfpd.org. If you would like more information regarding weed abatement or wish to report an exterior weed hazard in your neighborhood, call the Exterior Hazard Control Division at 925-941-3300, ext. 1505.

Karen Mitchoff is Contra Costa County District IV supervisor. Email questions or comments to Mitchoff at supervisormitchoff@bos.cccounty.us

Related story: East Bay Park district prepares for extended fire season

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