Many of our citizens live in the heavily forested areas of Bainbridge Island, areas the Department defines as the "Wild land/Urban Interface". Dry summer weather and lack of rainfall brings danger from wildfire to those homes that are nestled in close proximity to the trees and brush or on hillsides. It is important to evaluate the risk of losing your home to wildfire before it strikes, and take appropriate steps to protect your home and family.
One of the most effective ways to protect your property is to create a "defensible space" around your home. A defensible space is defined as a vegetation buffer, such as a green, mowed lawn, which reduces the chance of a wildfire reaching your home. In addition, this space provides a safe work area for firefighters in the event that your home is threatened by wildfire. An adequate defensible space requires the removal of trees and brush for at least thirty feet on all sides of your home.
Some additional steps that can prevent or minimize your exposure to wildfire are:
- Post your address numbers so the Fire Department can easily locate your property.
- If you see branches on or near power lines, call Puget Sound Energy to have them removed.
- Have two alternate escape routes from your property, one by car and one by foot.
- Provide access for fire apparatus by trimming back vegetation alongside your driveway.
- Clear an area of ten feet around propane tanks and barbeques.
- Remove dead branches that extend over the roof. Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
- Trim low hanging branches on trees to prevent a ground fire from spreading upward.
- Clean debris from your roof and gutters.
- Pre-connect garden hoses with nozzles to all exterior water outlets.
- Install fire resistant roofing. Burning embers that fall from above are a leading cause of structure fires that start as a result of a wildfire.
- Provide fire apparatus with access to any water supplies that might be available on your property or nearby, such as fire hydrants, swimming pools, creeks, lakes and ponds.
- Stack firewood a minimum of fifty feet from your home.
The Firewise Community Program
Brush, grass and forest fires don't have to be disasters. NFPA's Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Firewise is a key component of Fire Adapted Communities – a collaborative approach that connects all those who play a role in wildfire education, planning and action with comprehensive resources to help reduce risk. Is your home Firewise?
Why was the Bainbridge Island Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) created? The CWPP was created to solve a problem: How do we maintain the amenities of our region's natural beauty while minimizing the risk of a wildfire disaster? Developing a CWPP is the first step toward more extensive mitigation efforts. View the Presentation
What is the Bainbridge Island Community Wildfire Protection Plan? In 2010 the Bainbridge Island Fire Department and Peninsula College worked together to develop a wildfire protection plan for our community. The purpose of the plan is to provide a consolidated reference document and framework that enables local, state, and federal agencies to identity hazard areas and establish effective mitigation strategies that will reduce wildfire risk to life, property and resources. View the Plan