How to protect your home during wildfire season

SPOKANE, Wash. — Wildfires are already burning through states in the southwest. While fire season has not hit the Inland Northwest yet, firefighters say it’s a good time to start preparing your home.

Recently, Liberty Lake Mayor Cris Kaminskas initiated a conversation with Spokane Valley Fire Chief Frank Soto to address her concerns. She worries Idaho fires might spread to homes in Liberty Lake.

SVFD says the best thing you can do is create a defensible space to protect your home from a wildfire. You can do this by creating a space of 30 to 50 feet between your property and vegetation.

“Go out there and start looking at your property and being able to say, ‘Hey these trees are too close to our property– we need to scale them back,'” said SVFD Chief Soto. “When you have defensible space, then we have the opportunity to save your home.”

If a fire comes close to your home, the defensible space gives firefighters room to hold it back. However, if there is no defensible space, fire crews sometimes operate what’s called a triage. It’s when crews start to prioritize which homes can be saved and which can’t.

“If I was pulling up here in a fire engine, I’d look and go, ‘You know what, I got a chance here because they took some time they made some effort. I’m going to see if I can protect their home,'” firefighter Rick Freier said.

Chief Soto says wildfires are becoming more significant around the country and in our area each year.

“They’re coming, it’s going to happen. The question is will they be at a level that we can put them out right away and move onto the next one,” Soto said.

Don’t forget to also check the space right around your home. Make sure to clean those gutters, remove pine needles from underneath your deck, and any combustible materials.

Freier says to keep in mind that you don’t have to live near the woods to have a wildfire take your home.

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