Our View: The threat of fire is real

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As more than a dozen fires are burning across California, it’s important to be more prepared than ever before. Last year, it was the Thomas Fire. Currently, the Carr Fire in Redding continues to burn more than 170,000 acres, with more 1,000 homes, 22 commercial businesses and 500 outbuildings destroyed. Nearby, an intense fire in the wooded area of Parkshore Drive broke out late at night along with larger fires in Shingle Springs and Pilot Hill last week. These incidents are vivid reminders, that fire danger is real, and it’s everywhere.

Local air quality has been noticeably smoky in recent weeks, with area officials calling for advisories this week and for those sensitive to stay inside.

All these facts should warrant heightened awareness and diligent preparedness. Locally, our firefighters have been nothing short of heroic in defending our area; however, we’ve got a long way to go before the rains come.

In the meantime, there are many things local residents can do to help firefighters save our home and lives in the event of a wildfire.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection requires at least 100 feet of defensible space around each home. This includes removing dead brush, weeds and low-hanging branches. Not only will the property look nice and manicured, your home will have a chance to be saved if a wildfire burns through the neighborhood.

Consider landscaping with fire- and drought-resistant flowers and trees such as, sage, red bud, ornamental garlic, lavender and lilac. With these plants, you’ll also save on your water bill.

Is your go-bag ready? Sometimes there are only minutes to evacuate. Having one thing to grab could save your life. Here is where preparation is key. In that bag it is recommended to have such things as water, prescriptions, change of clothes, an extra pair of eyeglasses, spare car keys, credit cards, cash, first-aid kit, and copies of important documents, such as insurance policies, deeds and licenses. If you have pets, pack a go-bag for them too.

Fires are a fact of life for Northern California residents, regardless if there cause is due to global warming, set with intent or human negligence they can destroy possessions in a matter of minutes and even take lives. Let’s all do our part to be prepared and safe, and make sure we thank our area firefighters for all they do to protect our homes, land and families.

- The Folsom Telegraph