by Charlene Burgi
July is upon us, and we have already seen the effects of recent hot, dry weather on our wildland vegetation. The once-varying shades of green hills have taken on the classic golden hues we are accustomed to during the summer months. Just this week, a wildfire burned 38 acres
on MMWD's Mt. Tamalpais Watershed—a stark reminder that fire season is here.
Marin County is hilly and surrounded by a lot of open space covered in trees and wild grasses. It is beautiful and the very reason why we love living here, right? Yet, with that beauty comes a responsibility. We can all do our part to maintain our properties to keep safe spaces around us. Steps you can take to create defensible space include:
- Keep all flammables secured in a fire-safe space
- Eliminate dead and dying plants and plant debris from your property.
- Limb up trees at least 10 feet to reduce the chance of a ground fire climbing into the trees (called ladder fuel)
- Maintain healthy moisture control on all plants around the house.
- Choose fire resistant plants for your garden. As an added bonus, many of these plants are also drought-tolerant.
- Allow for adequate spacing between plants. Overcrowding allows fire to move quickly through an area.
- Be aware of topography: Wildfires move quickly uphill, so if your house is on a slope create additional defensible space.
Find more information on creating defensible space at: firesafemarin.org
Besides potential fuels, other factors in our environment can increase the risk of wildfire including weather conditions and ignition sources. We have little control over the low humidity levels combined with high temperatures that make for easy combustion. However, we can be aware of those conditions and avoid weed-eating tall grasses, driving off road and using our outdoor fire pits until the temperatures reduce and the evening fog returns. If camping is on your list of things to do, be responsible and make certain all fires are contained and douse the fire pit with vast quantities of water.
Let's make this summer a safe one for all. Have a happy 4th of July.