ROGUE RIVER, Ore. -- It’s well known that firefighters battle the flames that threaten our homes and communities but did you realize that they are also picking up the slack when it comes to preparing your home to withstand wildfires?
NewsWatch 12’s Alicia Rubin followed firefighters who are preparing homes near the Garner Complex just outside Rogue River along Pleasant Creek Road. Pleasant Creek Rd. has been under Level Two and Level Three evacuation zones for weeks now and the fire crews have been installing sprinkler systems, bulldozing, trimming, clearing, and setting up barriers all along each home in the area.
Some homeowners have already done their part of the work to ensure that their home is safe, while others require a little more attention.
“This home was pretty well prepped before we got here but specifically the road coming in here was really overgrown,” explains Engine Boss, Cole VanEssen, “a lot of what we call ‘ladder fuels’; fuels between the ground and the treetops that spread the fire from low to high. We go in and clear a lot of that out, 10 to 20 feet on either side of the roadway that way it gives us a better way to get out.”
Some properties have ponds or independent water sources, which is a convenient plus when it comes to fighting fires.
“This particular residence has its own pond so an instance like this we can come up and set up this portable pump it pours water out of the pond out of this distribution line and then all of these little 1-inch lines go to individual sprinkler heads,” says VanEssen.
Those individual sprinkler heads are placed around the property line and if the fire grows too close firefighters will start the sprinklers and evacuate.
Once all of the prepping is done firefighters will visit each home throughout the day to make sure everything is in working order.
“We’ll be here a couple times throughout the day to make sure that there’s no new spot fires around, make sure that everything is in operation,” explains VanEssen, “obviously double check to make sure everyone is evacuated. Occasionally, depending on the residence, we will try to go around and water the chickens or throw out some food for the cat, that kind of stuff.”
You can keep your home prepped year around by trimming low hanging branches, clearing brush, keeping your lawn green, keeping your roof clear, cleaning your gutters, and clearing any trees within a 30-50 ft. radius around your home.