During this trying time, we are all searching for thing to do on nice days here in western Washington. Some of us garden, others do yard work or play with our children to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. I propose that there is one more thing we can be doing while we are at home, and that is start preparing for the upcoming wildfire season.
Over the next 5 weeks I will be sharing recommendations that will help you be prepared for a potential wildfire event, culminating with an online live information session on Friday, May 1. You will then be prepared to participate in National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 2 either in your community or at home on your own.
I will also be sharing information from and with our partners Washington State Department of Natural Resources, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Eastside Fire and Rescue, Vashon Island Fire and Rescue and more.
Today, I am sharing with you information about “Defensible Space.” This refers to the natural or landscaped areas around our homes that is maintained and designated to reduce fire danger.
Defensible space is broken down into three different Home Ignition Zones – Immediate, Intermediate and Extended. For the next few weeks we are going to talk about some common observations and recommendations we can do to reduce our wildfire risk in each of these zones.
Here are a few suggestions to do in the Immediate Zone, which includes your home and the area out to 5 feet.
Removing the accumulation from fine fuels reduce the rick a wind-blown ember starting a fire on your homes roof.
Cleaning gutters regularly ensures you don’t accumulate fine fuels that could be started from a wind-blown ember in the event of a wildfire.
Now that the colder weather is behind us, moving your firewood or any other combustible material out to 30 feet will reduce the risk of a fire starting from a wind-blown ember and increasing in size directly next to your home.
Join me next week when I will explain what you can do in the Intermediate Zone (the next 5′ to 30′) around your home.
Matt Axe, Program Coordinator, Wildfire and Forest Resiliency
Matt Axe joins King Conservation District as the new Wildfire and Forest Resiliency Coordinator. Matt served 10 years in the U.S. Army before returning to school at Green River College where he began pursuing a career in forest management. At Green River College Matt acquired on the ground skills and experience in forestry while completing applied associate degrees in Wildfire, Forestry, Parks, and Recreation Management and a bachelor’s degree in forest management. Having lived with his family and worked in in the forests of rural king county and near Spokane most recently, Matt is very aware of the challenges that rural communities and Washington’s forests face due to climate change and increasing wildfire risks.
Matt is passionate about protecting our forests, helping the diverse communities that live in Wildland Urban Interface zones, and empowering private landowners to take actions that make their communities and homes more wildfire resilient. In collaboration with our partners at King County, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and local fire districts, Matt will be providing wildfire preparedness education, wildfire risk assessment and planning services to individual landowners, communities, and working with communities to implement wildfire risk reduction projects.