By the time this article is published, the Hill will have more than 90 percent of its inspection compliance with PRC 4291 completed. This is great news for all of us!

A number of properties are still being abated through Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council, which is excellent because that’s the reason we’re here. In the event you’ve been thinking about calling us to arrange a free inspection and abatement estimate, this is definitely the time to do it. We have the grant money to help you out and the active part of our year-long fire season is definitely here.

After you have passed your inspection, the key is to keep your property in compliance. Most Hill residents know that this part is not easy and is even more difficult for part-time residents.

Most homes are lost in wildfires by spot fires (caused by ember cast) finding a path to the structure. This “path” is usually pine needles or dry grass that leads up to the house. The fire creeps up to the structure, gets established in wood siding or a deck and then takes down the house very quickly. The roof and rain gutters also are places for needle cast to accumulate and become very receptive to hot embers.

After your property is abated, there are two recurring issues. The roof (including gutters) must be kept clean and the first 10 feet around all structures must be kept raked down to mineral soil.

The problem is, you rake, the wind blows and it all comes back! It’s the price we pay for the lifestyle we live.

Firefighters have decisions to make about which homes they make an effort to save and which homes they drive by in a wildfire. This is because they have very little time to spend at each house. If five engines are assigned to protect 30 homes in an area, there is no time for them to do your abatement for you.

Engine companies do what’s called “bump and run.” It means they check your house, put out any small fires they find and move on to the next house. The goal is to save the maximum number of homes as possible while maximizing firefighter safety. The abated homes are the ones that get the most attention.

There will never be enough fire engines to have one at every house during a large wildfire so we, as homeowners, owe the fire departments our best effort to make them successful at our property.

Success is not always guaranteed in a wildfire. The idea is to tip the odds in your favor through your abatement, your neighbor’s abatement and our fire agencies keeping up maintenance on their fuelbreaks.

From Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council, thank you to all those putting forth the effort to make our communities as safe as possible!