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L.A. County takes first step in 'Ready! Set! Go!' education program

Posted: April 22, 2010 6:15 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2010 6:08 p.m.
 
LOS ANGELES - L.A. County firefighters will perform brush clearance inspections of more than 39,000 wildland-area homes beginning May 1 in an effort to save lives and property from wildfire.

This is the first step in the county Fire Department's annual "Ready! Set! Go!" public education program designed to teach residents how to protect themselves and their properties.

Last year, the Station Fire killed two county firefighters and burned more than 160,000 acres, becoming the largest wildfire in county history.

May 1 launches brush clearance inspections for most areas of the county; June 1 begins the inspection period in coastal areas.

Each property must be in compliance with the county's brush clearance requirements. Firefighters will visit each property to inspect it for weeds, combustible debris and dead or dying vegetation that may present a potential fire hazard.

To help property owners comply with county brush clearance codes, the department's website offers a free list of 12 local companies that provide hazard reduction services: fire.lacounty.gov/Forestry/BrushManagementHazardReductionContractors.asp.

In addition to two annual brush inspections, the department's Fuel Modification Program helps protect newly constructed homes and developments by requiring vegetation to be planted in zones around structures.

Residents are urged to select plantings from an approved list to help prevent wildfire from jumping from one fuel source to another and eventually to a home.

Right now, county standards call for up to a 200-foot clearance set in three zones, beginning with a 20-foot-wide setback area of low-growing plants with high moisture content.

A second zone of up to 100 feet of ornamental and native plants are arranged to minimize fire progression.

A third "thinning zone" of native vegetation could be up to 200 feet in very high fire hazard areas.

These efforts also help firefighters operate safely and protect homes during a wildfire.



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