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TAHOE FIRE AGENCIES URGE COMMUNITY TO “GET DEFENSIVE” ON WILDFIRE AND PROTECT THEIR PROPERTY WITH UP TO $1,000 IN REBATES
Everyone’s a Firefighter When Creating Defensible Space at Home
(Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.) – Federal, state and local fire protection agencies are making it easy and more affordable for Tahoe Basin residents to protect themselves from wildfire by creating defensible space – planning methods for the prevention and control of fires – around their property (http://www.TahoeFireSafe.com). Free home inspections, tree removal permits and 50-percent rebates for tree removal and other vegetation management services up to $1,000 are available by taking action now to establish defensible space at home.
Lake Tahoe’s Fire Safety Awareness Week, Oct. 4-10, marks an ideal time to take advantage of resources while they are available and start defending one’s home or second home in the Tahoe Basin. Creating defensible space is the responsibility of residents to ensure firefighters can safely protect properties in the event of a wildfire.
“Burning structures spread fire more quickly than trees in most forests, so our primary focus is getting homeowners to comply with defensible space requirements,” said USFS spokesperson Cheva Heck. “It’s in the hands of Tahoe residents to make sure their property has defensible space established so our firefighters can do their jobs.”
Of the 51 wildland fire incidents in 2009, only one was due to a natural cause, lightning. The remainder was human-caused, asserting the importance of residents to do their part to establishing defensible space to protect their property and stop the spread of fire to the surrounding neighborhood.
Many of the measures needed for defensible space can be completed by the homeowner, such as:
Since 2008, more than 5,400 homes were inspected and over $920,000 in rebates have been distributed to Tahoe homeowners who participated in the easy, five-step defensible space rebate processestablished by the Nevada Fire Safe Council. The NVFSC works with the fire districts to protect natural and manmade resources by motivating citizens to make their homes, neighborhoods and communities fire safe on the Nevada and California sides of the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Remove dead vegetation and debris; to manage pine needles, rake them once in the spring and let them fall in the fall.
Thin out thick stands of shrubs and trees to create a separation. Local fire protection agencies can provide the resources needed, such as free inspections and tree removal permits. Call (530) 543-3473 to learn more.
Remove “ladder fuels” like lower tree branches and shrubs underneath trees to keep wildfire from climbing and spreading.
The Five-Step Defensible Space Rebate Process:
For more information, call 1-877-LT-NVFSC or (530) 543-3473 or visit www.nvfsc.org.
Contact your local fire protection districtto schedule a defensible space inspection
Call the NVFSC to receive a free inspection voucher: (530) 543-3473 or apply online
Get defensible space work done on your property as soon as possible
Contact the NVFSC to schedule a property re-evaluation
When the property passes the final inspection, the NVFSC will mail a rebate check within 21 days of the completed evaluation
In the 2007 Angora Fire, 76 percent of homes that survived in affected neighborhoods had established defensible space, according to the NVFSC. Fire safety officials are stressing the importance of forest management at home, as the Tahoe Basin is heavy with fuels like dead trees, fallen pine needles and structures built without ignition-resistant materials. Tahoe residents are being asked to do their part in creating a fire safe area not just around their homes but also local rental properties and businesses.
The USFS, state fire agencies and fire protection agencies around the Lake Tahoe Basin rely on residents and visitors to be active partners in fire prevention and do their part to protect homes and public lands by preventing wildfires and by encouraging others to do the same. Visit www.TahoeFireSafe.com to learn more.