The first Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event. For more information about Earth Day, visit https://www.earthday.org/
With many Earth Day events cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Fire Safe Council of University City South suggests celebrating Earth Day by improving the defensible space around your home and protecting it from catching fire. Defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it helps protect your home from catching fire—either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home.
This month, concentrate on Zone 0, also known as the Ignition Resistant Zone, which extends five feet from your home.
- Remove dead or dry plants, leaves, grass, weeds and pine needles (vegetation) from your roof and rain gutters.
- Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation, firewood, lumber, and other combustibles items stored under decks or overhangs.
- Replace doormats with heavy rubber or metal grates.
Review Home Hardening steps for additional preparation tips on the CAL FIRE website at https://www.readyforwildfire.org/prepare-for-wildfire/get-ready/defensible-space/