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Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Flowers; Danger Ahead

I remember the days before I worked in emergency management. When I would look at the green hills in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and get excited about what a great wildflower season it would be.

But now I am tainted.

While I will still enjoy the beauty of hikes through the Preserve, now I worry about what is left after those lovely flowers dry up . . . the fuel for fast moving fires.

You can already see the stories popping up in the news . . . our winter rain showers resulted in desert growth that could lead to a busy wildland fire season. If you are thinking you are safe living in the city, think again. Wildfires don’t happen only where there are trees.

A fire that occurs in the desert, or on that mountain behind your house, can spread quickly by burning through those dead wildflowers and dry desert shrubs. If you haven’t done your part to clear the dead brush from your landscape, the fire can quickly start burning on your land too. As they say in my business, disasters don’t know boundaries, property lines, county lines, state lines, etc.

The good news is there are things you can do to minimize your risk. Remove dead bushes, leaves, wildflowers to clear a defensible space around your house. When you see the photos of neighborhoods that were impacted by fires, many times the houses that were spared had taken steps to minimize their risk.

It is sort of funny how whatever job you currently have raises your awareness for different things. Back in my retails days, I was quite a handbag snob. I could tell you if it was an expensive bag from twenty paces away. But alas, those days have gone and now worry about my neighbor and the excessive weeds in the alley that run along his wooden fence.

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