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FEATURED PROFESSIONAL: Ross Hasseltine, FireSafe Spokane – Creating a Fire Safe Environment

Creating a Fire Safe Environment

Do you live in Ponderosa Pine Forests? If so your home may be at risk from wildfire!

In fire prone Northeast Washington – Spokane, Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille Counties Fire Safe Spokane, in cooperation with Department of Natural Resources, Avista Corporation, Inland Power and Light Company and your local fire district are using a $1,300,000 Forest Service Grant to create a Defensible Space zone around your home at no cost to you.

Zone 1: This is a 30-foot radius around your home which needs to be “Lean, Clean and Green” It is a non-flammable zone. Lean – minimal dead woody vegetation. Clean – free of pine needles, firewood and other flammable litter. Green – Lawn is best.

Zone 2: “Trim and Prune” This zone extends from zone 1 up to 300’ from the house on very steep ground. Slope, aspect and fuels all affect the size of this zone. The “trim” is aimed at precommercial thinning, spacing the trees to at least 5 feet between live crowns. The “prune” is to eliminate ladder fuels allowing the fire to climb into the crowns. Pruning height is usually 8 to 10 feet. Debris is either chipped or burned (by homeowner). Depending on time of year, larger material may need to be treated to minimize risk of Ips beetle infestation.

If your timber is larger and more suitable for commercial removal you will probably not qualify for this grant. A consulting forester can discuss the alternatives if this is your particular situation. Commercial thinning this year and applying for grant monies next year may be an option.

As fire is a natural part of the environment in Northeast Washington, addressing the potential hazards and creating a defensible space around your home is essential. Fire Safe Spokane is a program developed to help landowners protect their property and homes prior to a wildfire occurring. The target for this year is to protect 1200 homes.

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