Create defensible space around your home as we go into fire seas - Tucson News Now

Create defensible space around your home as we go into fire season

This photo represents defensible space, with the pallet as the home and straw is burnable material around the home. (Source: Tucson News Now) This photo represents defensible space, with the pallet as the home and straw is burnable material around the home. (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Take a look around your home.

If you have heavy vegetation close to your house or a lot of flammable things in the yard, it might be time to clean it all up.

There's a  lesson to be learned from the blaze that destroyed four homes in Bisbee this week, according to firefighters.

Those safety precautions that keep houses from burning during large wildfires also can protect homes in the middle of Tucson.

Firefighters want us to create defensible space between our houses and the vegetation around our houses.

It can mean the difference between firefighters being able to save our homes or not.

Northwest Fire Captain Brian Keeley helped us see how big a deal defensible space is.

He set up a pile of pallets surrounded by straw representing a house that has an overgrown yard. Another pile of pallets was a house surrounded by straw, but separated from that straw by several feet. That area is the defensible space between the house and vegetation around it.

Captain Keeley set fire to the straw at each of the "houses."

It didn't take long for the fire to spread from the straw to the pallets that had no defensible space. Very soon the pallets were reduced to black ash,while the pallets that had a few feet between them and the blazing straw were fine.

Keeley pointed to the smoldering debris that had been pallets.

"If this was an urban interface area, because the vegetation was right up against the house, this house would be a total loss," he said.

Keeley described the intact pallets.

"This would represent the homeowner who has cleared space in between their home and where the vegetation is and kind of taken away that fuel source for the fire to be able to spread," Keeley said. "There's never a guarantee in anything. This is just your best chance at saving your home."

Keeley said a minimum of 10 to 15 feet between the vegetation and your house should be enough to give firefighters the best chance to save your home.

He said it doesn't have to be dirt.  It can be rock or pavers or anything else that won't burn and spread fire from the plants to your home.

He said it doesn't matter if you're in the country or right in the middle of the city, the same rules apply.

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