Firefighters Want You to Build a "Firewise" Home - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Firefighters Want You to Build a "Firewise" Home

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KITTITAS, Wash.--Wildland firefighters quickly switched directions when the raging Colockum Tarps Fire turned west and threatened nearly 100 structures in the Park Creeke and Secret Canyon areas.
 
NBC Right Now got a chance to see why these homes are still standing.
 
"We identified 88 structures in these drainage's around here so I don't have enough trucks to defend every house that's out there," said Chief Doug Bleeker with the Spokane Fire Department. "So I've been pushing in my home unit about getting rid of defensible space and building survivable space around your homes so that your home will survive even if there's not a fire truck there."
 
So how do you create a "survivable space?"
 
"You think about the stuff that's up around your house," said Chief Bleeker. "Everybody's got a barbequer, so we need to pull the propane, the lighter fluid off of the deck and the front porch get that out here. The plastic lawn furniture."
 
Firefighters said you should remove all these items at least 30 to 60 feet away from your home so the flames will burn these materials instead of your household. Crews said the same goes with landscaping or any other type of vegetation.
 
"If you picture this with three to five feet tall flame lengths marching across this and you look at this house, the first thing everybody sees is that tree right up there against the porch," said Chief Bleeker. "And that was the first thing we saw too."
 

Mother nature is always unpredictable, but crews said taking these steps can make the difference between a home intact and a home burned to the ground.
 

The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office said evacuation levels for the lower parts of Park Creeke and Secret Canyon have been lowered to level two. But people living in the upper areas are still at level 3 and not allowed to return home.
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