Monday, July 11, 2011

Clearwater County removing flammable vegetation

C-PTPA and Clearwater County crews work to remove fallen branches and other flammable vegetation from Cavendish Highway.

Cavendish Highway, located past Ahsahka, looks much cleaner since C-PTPA and Clearwater County crews removed a great deal of flammable vegetation and clutter.

Last year Clearwater County received a grant to remove flammable vegetation within the Sunnyside Fire District. After the bidding process Clearwater County awarded the project to Clearwater-Potlatch Timber Protective Association (C-PTPA).

Working with homeowners and once the weather cooperated C-PTPA began to remove excessive fuels in the prescribe area earlier this year. The intent of the hazardous fuels reduction treatments is to create a system of fuel breaks throughout the project area that can slow down or stop a wildfire and provide a safe evacuation route.

During the last couple of weeks C-PTPA has focused on Cavendish Hwy. The work has involved removing and chipping hazardous fuel along the roads deeded right-of-way. If you have driven the Cavendish road lately you will notice a nice park like setting along the side of the road where the project was conducted. The project has been going well and should conclude later this year.

Clearwater County encourages homeowners to develop a defensible space around their home. Doing so can help protect your home when a fire approaches. Keep in mind that preparing your property for fire does not mean removing all your trees. Simply removing over-hanging branches or limbing trees up from the ground can be a good benefit.

What are the most important things to do to protect my home?

·   First, make sure you have a nonflammable roof covering and assembly. Your roof is the most vulnerable spot for embers that blow in and collect.
·   Clean out gutters and downspouts of debris and leaves.
·   Keep the surface and area beneath decks and porches free of debris and leaves.
·   Maintain a 3-to-5-foot space around your house and all attachments that is “fuel free” – no flammable mulch, woodpiles, or plants that can allow fire to touch the house.
·   Screen vents with metal mesh; if possible, replace large win-dows with double paned or tempered glass to resist break-age during a fire.

Of course, large flames can and will ignite your home if they are close enough to the house. Ensure that trees and shrubs within the first 30 feet of your home are healthy, spaced apart, and not overhanging the house.

If your home is on a slope, thin out vegetation to a further distance (50 to 100 feet) to slow fire’s spread as it approaches uphill. 

For more information please contact Clearwater County Office of Emergency Management at 476-4064.

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