Officials Urge People to be “Fire Wise”

June 9, 2014

Officials with the Georgia Forestry Commission, the National Fire Prevention Association, and other agencies are asking homeowners and communities to get “fire-wise” this summer.

The agencies are promoting called “Fire Wise Communities.”

They said the goal is to get homeowners to work together to reduce the risk of damage to homes caused by wildfires.

Georgia Forestry Commission Wildfire Prevention Specialist Mark Wiles said the main thing they are asking people to do is clean up around their home to take away the fuel that can bring a fire to a home.

“We look at what we call the home ignition zone, which is the area about 30 feet minimum around the perimeter of the home, and making sure that anything that is flammable that would allow the fire to burn up to the foundation of the home or even on top of the home, like accumulation of leaves and debris in gutters, all that is clean and all the flammable stuff has been removed, so if we do have a fire, the fire is not able to migrate to the home,” said Wiles.

Wiles said most people do not realize their home is in danger from a fire until it is too late and the fire has reached their house.

He went on to say that the number one cause of wildfires is debris burning that gets out of control.

“It is usually not you that causes the problem, it is that neighbor six houses down that lets his leaf pile get out of control, so you have to take the initiative to clear out around the home to have that protective space,” said Wiles.

For more information on the “Fire Wise Communities” program, go online to www.firewise.org.

Also, Wiles reminded people that they must have a permit before burning.

Contact the Georgia Forestry Commission to obtain that permit prior to doing any burning.

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