Santa Clara County Residents Urged to Start Preparing for Fire Season

The wet and windy winter may have brought California more water, but it is also creating new fire hazards.

Firefighters said defensible space played a critical role in protecting homes during last year's Loma Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Fire officials are urging residents to start clearing brush at least 30 feet away from their homes.

"Having defensible space around your home allows it to better withstand the embers flying through the air with the wind so they don't catch on dry leaves," Santa Clara County Fire Department Capt. Bill Murphy said.

Clearing brush and weeds may be even more critical after heavy winter rains.

"Some of the weeds are 8 feet tall," said Patty Ciesla with the Santa Clara County Fire Safety Council. "They used to be 3 feet, so when that dries out that's all fuel that will drive wildfires."

The wind that came with the heavy winter storms has also toppled trees, providing even more fuel.

Residents in Santa Clara County who cut away limbs and grass from around their homes can just leave it outside. A chipper service will chop it up and haul it off for free thanks to a PG&E grant the Santa Clara County Fire Safety Council received.

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