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King County offers rural homeowners free advice for preventing wildfire

Summary

With all of unincorporated King County under a fire-safety burn ban, and the recent wildfire on Mt. Si serving as a grim reminder that fires can char acreage here in green western Washington, fire-prevention experts want to remind residents in fire-prone areas that they can take steps to minimize the risk of fire to their property.

Story

With all of unincorporated King County under a fire-safety burn ban, and the recent wildfire on Mt. Si serving as a grim reminder that fires can char acreage here in green western Washington, fire-prevention experts want to remind residents in fire-prone areas that they can take steps to minimize the risk of fire to their property.

Free technical assistance from the King County Forestry Program is available to homeowners searching for help in identifying and mitigating wildfire risk by calling 206-296-8042, or email.

Using neighborhood consultation sessions and personal visits, King County foresters and fire marshals can help forest landowners identify risk factors, such as a lack of fire truck access to their homes, or fire-prone vegetation growing too close to a house or other structure.

For in-depth “firewise” training, register now for the 2013 Northwest Citizen Corps Expo, Aug. 10 at the Northwest Fire Training Academy in North Bend.

While major fires are less frequent in King County and western Washington than in eastern Washington, the wet climate here allows fuels to grow more densely than on the drier side of the state. It takes only a few days of summer heat for forests to dry out enough to catch fire – and when a fire does occur, it tends to spread quickly.

Communities such as North Bend, Fall City, Hobart, Maple Valley, and Cumberland are at particular risk because of their exposure to strong summertime winds that blow from the Cascades. 
Being firewise means taking personal responsibility for protecting people and property from the risk of wildfire. All it takes is a little planning and yard clean up.
King County’s Forestry Program offers free technical assistance in identifying and mitigating wildfire risk, including:

  • Assessing wildfire hazards around the home and in the community,
  • Firewise landscaping for sun and shade,
  • Alternatives to outdoor burning, including chipping and composting, and
  • Developing a personalized fire safety action plan.