Summer                                                                      Healing Moon

ECFD LOGOExternal fire sprinklers are back on. Jacob Ware, deputy fire chief for the Elk Creek Fire District, came out in his red fire department pick up to talk fire mitigation. He was an interesting guy and a neighbor. He lives near Upper Maxwell Falls trailhead.

Jacob, a former hotshot who fought fires in Idaho and the Pacific Northwest, says external fire sprinklers work. He described an Idaho fire where his crew took portable sprinklers out, built a fireline a half mile long, attached them to a water source, a portable generator and left them running. The fire stopped at the fireline. He’s also seen them work on individual houses. A cheap, do it yourself kit is what he recommends. He’s sending me particulars.

The thirty foot defensive zone around the house is most critical. Not only do you have to get rid of ladder fuels like high grass and shrubs, you also have to break up fuel continuity so an ember can’t spark a fire and be led to the house through mulch or dry, tall grass. After that, create a ten foot span at the crown between and among trees. That means cutting down weaker, stressed trees. This I can do. Aspens are good, they’re fire resistant, but the conifers are mostly pitch and burn like candles. We have mostly lodgepole pine in our yard.

Black Mountain Drive in front of our house will act as a fire break in case of a fire coming from the south and west. It also provides excellent access for fire departments. Combined with our long driveway, top rated roofing and, surprisingly to me, our siding, he said we were already in pretty good shape. Good to hear.

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