Atascadero residents asked to remain diligent throughout fire season
Submitted by the City of Atascadero Fire and Emergency Services
–Each year, the City of Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services requires property owners to clear weeds from their properties in preparation for fire season, in accordance with the City’s Municipal Code which annually requires property owners to destroy or remove vegetative growth and/or refuse. This hazard reduction program is used to eliminate vegetative growth and/or refuse which may constitute a fire, life or safety hazard. This year, the citizens of Atascadero did an incredible job clearing their property, greatly reducing the risk of a growing vegetation fire and enabling our firefighters to combat wildfire more effectively.
Several recent vegetation fires in and around Atascadero deliver an important reminder that fire season is still underway. Atascadero Fire & Emergency Services reminds property owners that this fire season may require even more diligence and perseverance than seasons of the past. “We want our community members to know that they have the ability to greatly reduce their risk of a damaging wildfire simply by keeping their weeds properly abated,” said Fire Chief Casey Bryson. “If you notice that the vegetation on your property has grown back and you are no longer compliant with the code, please take the time to cut it back again,” said Bryson.
The hazard reduction and weed abatement program was implemented to eliminate light flashy fuels, such as seasonal grasses, which are the first step in the ladder fuels system. For brush and trees to burn, it requires preheating. This preheating is typically caused by seasonal grasses. If residents recognize the need to mow the grass on their property again, please be sure to complete mowing before 10 a.m. Weeds should be kept less than four inches in height.
“By having our citizens eliminate the flashy fuels on their properties, we are able to give our firefighters time to get on scene and hopefully, keep the fire small,” said Fire Marshal Tom Peterson. “When you cut your weeds, not only are you helping protect your property, you are also protecting your neighbors and the entire community,” said Peterson.
Additional safety precautions can also help to prevent unnecessary fires this season. Many vegetation fires are caused by vehicles that are either driving off-road; improperly towing trailers; or just are not well maintained. Please be aware that exhaust alone can ignite a fire in dry grass. Avoid pulling any vehicle too far off the shoulder into vegetation, if parking along the roadway cannot be avoided. If pulling a trailer, be certain the trailer is not over-weighted; that all vehicle tires have adequate tread with proper inflation; and that safety chains are not dragging. Overall, be sure to have vehicles maintained by a certified mechanic regularly. BBQ’s are often another cause of structure and vegetation fires that can easily be avoided. Be sure to keep grills clean from grease buildup; never leave the BBQ unattended and ensure coals are completely cooled before discarding them; and always discard coals in a metal container.
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