What to watch out for when protecting homes from wildfire dangers

Jun 22, 2023, 7:18 PM | Updated: 8:49 pm

WEBER COUNTY, Utah —Right now there are a lot of potential fuels out there, but we’ve got this window where they’re not too wet, not too dry, and firefighters are using that as a chance to help homeowners build some defensible space.

Sometimes you have to tear things down to build a better, stronger defense. That’s what’s happening right now in the Ogden Valley.

Tracy Swensen is working directly with homeowners today showing people who live in these wooded areas where they can reduce the risk.

“I mean you got a couple of conifers here,” Swensen said. “We talk about what can be done near their house within a zone of five feet, and then out from their house up to a hundred feet, and how they can mitigate the fuels.”

Swensen is the Bear River Area Manager for Utah’s division of forestry fire and state lands.

“If you were to do gutters again, you’d maybe want to put a screening on top of them,” Swensen.

Firefighters like him are showing homeowners in nine high-risk areas around Weber County what they should clear.

And brush crews like this one are grinding up those fuels so they can be easily moved elsewhere.

“So this mitigation work, it not only helps us out and

helps prepare their houses in case that even happens,” Ward said.

Efforts like this are done as a partnership between homeowners and state and county agencies.

“So it’s extremely important that we get in and work these areas so it makes our job, the fire suppression positions easier to fight,” Cooper said.

It also helps firefighters see what potential concerns are out there, before things get busy.

“There’s lots of nooks and crannies; a hidden home, propane tanks out in the brush. It gives us an idea of where that stuff is,” Cooper said.

All in hopes that when these fuels dry out or even catch fire everyone will be better able to fight back.

“They’re helping us directly by helping themselves,” Swensen said.

Firefighters today said they’ve seen these defensible spaces work sometimes watching fires burn around those areas.

You can typically call your local fire department for advice or even an assessment on your own home.

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What to watch out for when protecting homes from wildfire dangers