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Wildfire Awareness

THE SPOKANE VALLEY FIRE DEPARTMENT SERVES A UNIQUE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA WITH A VARIABLE CLIMATE AND TOPOGRAPHY.

The elements that make this community special also create unique challenges to the fire department that protects it.  Summer season in this region is known for moderate to hot dry days which tends to dry out not only lawns but the native grasses, trees and other vegetation.  Dry vegetation coupled with the development of homes into wooded and semi-wooded areas creates what we in the fire service refer to as the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI).

Wildland-Urban Interface areas are most impacted by fires started naturally such as lightning strikes or accidentally from unattended fire pits or burning brush during high-risk times.  SVFD makes all attempts to extinguish these fires quickly before they consume homes or property.  Our firefighters complete annual training based on methods to attack and extinguish these wildfires with as little property loss as possible.  We also strive to prevent future fires from occurring through pro-active education.

We urge residents to help us protect your home from wildfire by making your home more defendable. Safety Tips include:

  • Clearly mark your home address on your house and next to the road with 4″ reflective numbers – we want to find you quickly in an emergency!
  • Prune back overgrown bushes and trees so the lowest tree branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground, or no more than 1/3 the height of the tree.
  • Create a defensible space at least 30 feet around your home by keeping a “lean, clean and green” manicured lawn or watered area (clear at least 100 feet if your home is on a hillside). Keep the first 5 feet around your home clear of anything flammable, including mulch, pine needles, firewood, furniture, etc.
  • Clear leaves, dry pine needles and other debris from roofs, gutters, eaves, porches and decks
  • Move flammable materials such as firewood stacks, propane tanks and dry vegetation away from your home
  • Choose heat- and flame-resistant construction materials for homes, decks, porches and fences

In high-risk Wildland-Urban Interface areas it is best to know more than one exit point out of your neighborhood. In the instance that a fire blocks your primary route, you need to be able to safely exit out of your neighborhood through your second route.  SVFD will continue to train our personnel to defend your homes against Wildland Urban Interface  fires and we encourage you to create and use the defensible ideas listed above.  A defensible space could just save your home or property.

Learn more about creating a defensible space around your home

To schedule a wildfire home survey, register at www.wildfirereadyneighbors.com

All SVFD firefighters are certified to combat wildland fires. The Department is capable of deploying four Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Brush Trucks and a Communications Trailer to combat these specialized types of fires.  Additional support for combating WUI fires comes from neighboring fire agencies and in significant events, through a State of Washington mobilization process that can deploy teams from departments throughout the state.  SVFD provides personnel and equipment to support the mobilization process as part of a regional Spokane County effort to combine resources from many different departments in a coordinated manner.

Additional wildfire resources: