Defensible space key to home fire protection

Published On: Aug 15 2012 06:44:38 PM PDT
Defensible space saves homes at Taylor Bridge Fire
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

The fire risk is high across Idaho and extreme in Coeur d'Alene, which means fires can start quickly, develop rapidly and be unpredictable.

The key to keeping your home protected against wildfires is to insure that it has plenty of defensible space, and landscaping plays an important role in that.

The Coeur d'Alene Fire Department emphasizes that you need to start close to your home and then work your way out. Homeowners should regularly clear out gutters and clean off their roof.

"Keep all the fuels, the grass, the bushes and trees moist, wet, watered and keep them trimmed down," Fire Inspector Bobby Gonder said.

Tree branches should be six to 15 feet above the ground. Keeping your lawn green and trimmed, as well as moving firewood away from the house, will also go a long way to protect your property.

"The idea is as a fire is burning towards your residence, as the fuels are reduced the fire is going to go out," Gonder said.

Paying attention to what kind of plants are near your house is important too. It's important to have fire resistant plants, like a rhododendron bushes, instead of Juniper bushes that can quickly ignite.

The fire department also encourages people to come up with an evacuation plan and put together an emergency kit, which would include foot and water for three days, medicines and clothes.

A good resource for people in Kootenai County is to call Fire Smart for safety help. You can contact them at (208) 255-9394.