“Firewise” Your Prescott Home
More and more people are taking steps to “firewise” their properties. Authority and Prescott National Forest officials are working together to assess properties and conduct needed studies on forest land prior to mitigation efforts and to create a secondary emergency roadway and informational meetings on how to set up a Firewise Community have increased in attendance since the Goodwin Fire back in June in the Blue Hills area of Dewey-Humboldt.
Wildfire season is never really over, said Denny Foulk, Yavapai County Emergency Management coordinator. This recent long spell of dry weather means the potential is still evident. Debbie Wilson lives in the Pine Lakes subdivision off Iron Springs Road, which backs up to Prescott National Forest. Nearby Kingswood achieved Firewise status in 2010. Wilson said her neighbors are just beginning to learn about how to conduct an assessment on properties. This class teaches Firewise and community members how to determine what a property needs for mitigation.
An assessor meets with the homeowner to make a plan that widens to about thirty feet surrounding the house. They may flag some trees to clean up lower branches or thin crowns. They make a chart on where underbrush needs thinning or removal. They also look for ingress and egress — what exits does the property owner have available should there be a need to evacuate? Is the driveway big enough for a firetruck? How does this property fit with other nearby properties? They look at the lay of the land to determine the likely directions a fire may approach the house. It takes a lot of work, but it also brings neighbors together. And once other homeowners see what can be done, they are motivated to firewise their own property.
Your first defense against wildfire is to create and maintain a defensible space around your home. However this does not mean your landscape has to be barren. A defensible space is an area, either man-made or natural, where the vegetation is modified to slow the rate and intensity of an advancing wildfire. It also creates an area for fire suppression operations to occur and helps protect the forest from being involved should a structure fire occur.
For more information and education on how to reduce wildland fire danger or if you’d like to gain Firewise® community certification, please visit the Prescott Area Wildland Urban Interface Commission (PAWUIC) site here. And if you’d like to know how to go about building a custom home in Prescott, please contact Crystal Creek Builders today!
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