Living with fire: how to minimize damage to your home in a wildfire

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Updated: 5/06/2013 5:41 pm
CARSON CITY, Nev. (KRNV & -- We are heading into fire season and it's time to get prepared. The University of Nevada's Cooperative Extension has a program to help you do it.

"The most important person in protecting your home from wildfire is not a firefighter, it's you the property owner," said Ed Smith, the director of Nevada's Living with Fire program. It teaches Nevadans how to protect their homes in high risk fire areas.

He said it all starts with removing potential fuels. 

"The closer you get to your house, the more important your decisions become on how you manage vegitation," Smith said.  

Smith also said you should remove low branches from nearby trees - up to ten feet or one-third the height of the tree.

For plants like sage brush Smith says to keep them separated by twice their height. So if a plant is three feet high keep six feet between bushes or clusters.

"This really reduces the fire threat quite a bit," Smith said.

There are no guarantees, but Smith said if you remove dry fuels like fallen pine needles and leaves the odds will be more in your favor. 

"It's the things that you do before that fire ever starts that are going to make the difference in home survival," Smith said.

Smith said having juniper shrubs near homes is one of the biggest dangers.

If you have one within 30 feet of your house, the Living with Fire program will take it through their junk the junipers initiative and you'll get a coupon for a more fire-safe replacement plant. For more information, click here.
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