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For Immediate Release                                                         

May 1, 2014

Media Contact
James Palisi
Fire Marshal, Redwood City
650.780.7457
Email

2014 Wildfire Awareness Week Kicks Off May 3rd
Redwood City-San Carlos Fire Department educates residents how they can help protect their community from devastating effects of wildfires – a leading cause of property loss in California

Redwood City, Calif. – The Redwood City-San Carlos Fire Department joins the annual national campaign, Wildfire Awareness Week, which kicks off on May 3, 2014 and ends May 10, 2014. Redwood City-San Carlos Fire Department joins two dozen states – from Colorado to Pennsylvania – and their local fire departments to raise public awareness of wildfires and promote actions that reduce the damage to homes and communities that result from wildfires. The most recent data from the US Fire Administration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) states that nationally, approximately 9,326,000 acres of land are destroyed by wildfires. Cal Fire reports that from the first of this year to late April 2014, 2,541 acres have burned from wildfires – almost double than the five year average for the same period of time.

The Redwood City-San Carlos Fire Department is using this national campaign to remind residents of these somber statistics and urge residents – especially those who live in hilly portions of Redwood City, San Carlos, and the unincorporated San Mateo County – to clear brush and grasses to a minimum of 30-ft to 100-ft from their homes or to the property line, whichever comes first. Doing so creates the defensible space as required under State law, and greatly reduces the potential of wildfires destroying homes. The Redwood City Fire Department has continued the vegetation inspection program performed by fire department staff.

Specific methods for performing the clearing of dead or dry vegetation can be viewed by visiting the Fire Safe Council of San Mateo County site at www.smcfiresafe.org and CAL FIRE at www.fire.ca.gov. (The Redwood City Fire Department is an active member of the Fire Safe Council of San Mateo County.)

“Wildfire Awareness Week is another opportunity to remind residents that it is within their power to stop the ravaging of our Peninsula land by taking simple steps to protect not only their home, but the families in our broader community,” states Jim Palisi, Redwood City Fire Marshal. “Hundreds of homes just on the Peninsula are destroyed. This kind of loss can be minimized if residents take some basic fire prevention steps.”

Wildfire Prevention Tips:

  • Cutting and mowing grasses and weeds 4”-6” inches in height will greatly reduce hazardous fuels and reduce the spread of wildfires
  • Planting low-growing fire resistant vegetation around the home is also encouraged. Removing dead and dry brush around the home should be done in the same fashion as with the grasses. Removing dead and dying tree limbs six to eight feet from the ground will also increase this defensible space.
  • Removing pine needles and other debris from roofs and gutters is also a critical measure in protecting your home from a fire. The Fire Department also wants to remind residents that the freezing cold weather experienced in November and December of 2013 has contributed to killing off brush and trees. This vegetation is now even dryer than it was before the lack of rain.

Please contact the Redwood City Fire Department at 650.780.7400 for additional information regarding wildfire awareness and creating a defensible space.

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