Fire Officials, Covered Bridge Residents Assess Wildfire Threat

Jul 23, 2019, 9:29 PM

SPANISH FORK, Utah – Local fire agencies spent the day in a small community in Spanish Fork Canyon, helping assess the risk to homeowners in the event of a wildfire.

The homes of Covered Bridge were built on private land, in a heavily wooded area. After residents were evacuated in 2018 due to the massive Pole Creek fire, it’s been an easy sell for the majority of residents to have local fire officials come out and take a look at their property, giving them tips on what they can do to help keep them wildfire safe.

“It’s close to the city but it’s far enough where you know you feel like you’re a little bit out of town,” said Lorraine Davis, who has called Covered Bridge home for many years now.

Davis walked along firefighters went through the neighborhood, assessing the risk to properties in the event of a wildfire.

“Within the first 5 feet of the home, and then the first 30 feet of the home, you have some ignitable materials that may ultimately spread fire directly on to the home,” said Katie Gibble, a wildland urban interface coordinator with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lanes.

With the burn scar from last year’s massive fire still visible, neighbors were on board with making sure they have defensible space around their homes, by spending time with firefighters for an assessment.

“We have 90 percent turnout on different people as far as signing up for this,” said Randy Lefebvre, a long-time resident and fire marshal for the community.

Residents said they’ve learned that even though the flames might burn in the distance, a hot ember carried in the wind can be all it takes to cost someone their home.

“Some things might require a little more time and effort, but it’s really the little things by clearing your litter away from your home and just getting combustibles away from around the home, that’s a start,” Davis said.

It’s the cooperation between fire agencies and the residents now, to make changes, that has wildland firefighters in this community optimistic.

“You know this is something that we love to see communities doing and we encourage all communities to get on or with doing home assessment,” Gibble said.

For more tips on what you can do around your neighborhood to reduce the risk of damage from a wildfire: https://ffsl.utah.gov/fire/wildfire-community-preparedness/

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Fire Officials, Covered Bridge Residents Assess Wildfire Threat