How to Protect Your Home from Fire

Wildland Fires are the most serious threat to our community. You can take several steps to reduce this threat to your home and property.

Helpful hints for Scotch Broom, Culverts, and Water Tanks

Basic Precautions

Defensible Space

Fire Season

Fire Safe Council

Brush Hauling to McCourtney

Hydrant / Water Supply on Your Property

Post Your House Number

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Basic Precautions

• Train children and rehearse fire procedures with your family, emphasizing the need to call 911 immediately.
• Have smoke detectors in living spaces; replace batteries annually.
• Have several fire extinguishers and locate them conspicuously.
• Keep garden hoses and nozzles ready to use.
• Have a generator to power your water supply system if electricity goes off.
• Have an evacuation plan and rehearse it.

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Defensible space

• Remove branches which overhang your home or trees very close to your home.
• The more fuel you can eliminate from the forest around your home and escape route, the safer you’ll be. Clear dead brush, thin vegetation and remove low branches for at least a 150′ radius around your home or out-buildings and from at least 20 feet on either side of your driveway or road.
• Cut dry grasses and weeds each spring.
• Call us for a free consultation about your property’s defensibility.

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FIRE season

Each year the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CDF) declares the beginning and end of fire season, depending on the amount of rain we receive. During fire season, all burning is prohibited. During the rest of the year, usually from early November to sometime in May, you may be permitted to stack and burn brush without a special permit, if air quality permits. You must call each day during this period (274-7928) to see if burning is allowed on that day. Some burning may also be allowed with a special permit after May 1; call the same number for information.

Never burn on a windy day.

Brush burning can be hazardous, and fires sometimes “get away” from people. You are responsible for insuring that your fire stays controlled. Clear flammable material from around your burn pile, have a charged water hose or other water supply handy, have shovels/rakes handy, have a cell phone or “walkie talkie” available and be sure to supervise your burn at all times. Burn piles can smolder, sometimes for months, if not extinguished properly.

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Fire Safe Council – (530) 272-1122

Nevada County offers a free alternative to brush burning-chipping/mulching of stacked brush through the Fire Safe Council. Each homeowner is limited to two days’ worth of work by a chipping crew, but that is a substantial amount of brush. They do all the work, the chippings are spread nearby as mulch or to hasten decomposition, there is no air pollution involved, and there’s no risk of having a brush fire get away from you. They do require that brush be piled to facilitate the chipping process and that it be located close to a road or driveway. Call them for specifics or an appointment, or check out their website from our Interesting Links page for many other services they provide.

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Brush hauling to McCourtney

The County Transfer Station at McCourtney Road in Grass Valley also accepts vegetation if you wish to haul it there. There is a charge of $1.50/cubic yard (about $2 for a pick-up truck full.) Closed Mondays.

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Hydrant / water supply on your property

Home water supplies provide an advantage in fighting fire. Ponds, water tanks and even mobile water tanks are options used by many home owners. If you install fixed facilities, they should be marked (we provide special reflective blue markers at no charge) and located on our records. We’ll provide help to any homeowner interested in such facilities and can advise you regarding the purchase of pumps, hose, nozzles, fire-fighting foam, hydrants or other equipment you might need. Call us at (530) 292-9159.

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Post Your House Number

To find your home, especially at night or during bad weather, we need to see your house number. Having large, reflective house numbers is one of the most important steps you can take to help us protect you and your home.  Suitable signs are available from the District office, Station #3 on Tyler Foote Road. We provide green signs with white numbers and letters, either single or double-sided with either vertical or horizontal orientation for a nominal fee. It takes about two weeks to get your sign. Call the office for further information.

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