Unified Fire Authority urges Emigration Canyon homeowners to prepare for possible wildfires this summer

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SALT LAKE CITY — Firefighters from the Unified Fire Authority held their 17th Firewise Day in Emigration Canyon Saturday.

They hoped to educate people who live in the canyon about how to protect their homes from wildfires.

Salt Lake County emergency manager Clint Mecham said the wet winter may help wildfires spread later in the summer.

"We’ve had a lot of snow," Mecham said. "There’s a lot of moisture in the ground. It will help that vegetation grow faster and bigger and when it comes summertime, July, August, September, a lot of those fuels or vegetation that grew here in the spring, becomes potential fuel for fire in the fall."

Mecham said homeowners should incorporate wildfire protection into their spring cleaning.

“Creating defensible space around their homes, for example, having a family preparedness plan ready to go in the event that something does happen, what to do in case they are given an evacuation order,” he said.

Unified Fire wildland specialist Alec Moyer said a little preparation in the spring can make all the difference in the event of a wildfire.

“The potential’s there. The hazard’s there. And so if they can put it work beforehand," he said, "they can definitely make a difference. They can save homes.”

Unified Fire Authority recommends clearing out a 30-foot safety zone around homes susceptible to wildfires. For more tips on wildfire safety, visit the agency's website.

Firewise solutions
  • Keep weeds and grass cut. Most city and county codes prohibit grass and weeds in excess of six inches.
  • Remove dead and dying vegetation, and dispose of it properly.
  • Properly dispose of trash and debris. Items such as old construction materials, boxes and yard waste are fires waiting to happen.
  • Stack firewood away from structures, fences or anything else that may be combustible.

If you live in an urban-interface area, consider these additional steps:

  • Create at least a 30-ft. safety zone around your home.
  • When possible, remove or thin the dead wood and the older trees beyond 100 feet from the house.
  • Limit the use of flammable plants in landscape design. Choose fire resistant varieties.
  • Limit the placement of plants next to structures, under eaves, overhangs, decks, etc.
  • Keep landscaping manicured and watered.
  • Plant trees and large shrubs in sparse, separate areas.
  • Limit the use of trees and shrubs that have large volumes of foliage and branches.
  • Minimize the use of plants that develop dry or dead undergrowth. Remove ladder fuels (plants that provide a link between the ground and tree limbs).
  • Keep the roof, rain gutters and eaves clear of debris.

Courtesy of the Unified Fire Authority

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