Roy Gilbert

Work ahead to prepare home for wildfires

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Smoke rises over TRE on Wednesday afternoon as the Canyon Fire burns south of Gardnerville. Kurt Hildebrand photo In 2003, I wrote an article on making a home firesafe. I started with this, “The raging fires in California are a terrible reminder of the wildfire risk of living in the urban-wildland interface.” Now, 16 years later, that initial sentence bears repeating. With climate change and global warming, we are seeing hotter, more intense, faster spreading wildfires than ever before. Fuels such as brush, grasses and trees are tinder dry everywhere, including Northern Nevada.

I ask readers again, “Is your home firesafe?” People want to live where the sagebrush meets the pines and might be totally unaware of the high risk of wildfire there and in most of Northern Nevada. This area possesses all the ingredients necessary to support large, intense and uncontrollable fires. As wildfire educators teach, “It’s not a question of if a wildfire will occur, but when.” Our ability to live more safely in this fire environment greatly depends on our prefire activities.

Actions homeowners and the community take prior to a fire can improve the survivability of people and homes. These activities include proper vegetation management around the home and structures; use of fire-resistant building materials; and appropriate subdivision design for fire protection equipment access and homeowner egress during an evacuation event.

Don’t think that the defense of your home against a wildfire is only the fire department’s responsibility. The Sonoma fire is almost 77,000 acres as I write […]

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