How to Keep Fire at Bay

Fire Prevention Experts spell it out: You have to clear out potential fuels from around your home to protect it from fire.

One official called the fire danger in Inyo-Mono “a new kind of animal.” One we have to get to know. Bob Valen, information man for a special Fire Prevention Team that has come to the Eastern Sierra, told us what you can do.

Valen said there are three zones around homes. The inner zone is the Home Ignition Zone. This means anything that touches your home and could cause fire. “Decks, the type of roofing material, pine straw lying around the house.”

The next zone is the Defensible Space Zone. That’s where you reduce fuels. If fire comes through, the clear area will stop it. The next zone is the Fuel Reduction Zone – a thinning fuels needs to happen there.

The Inyo Complex and June Fires grabbed our attention. Fire edged fearfully close to homes in many cases. We have aired tape of the incredible devastation in the Onion Valley area above Independence – thousands of acres of blackened mountainsides.

The same is true for Big Pine. Jesse Steele and Nikole Lombardi checked out the aftermath of the Sage Fire up Big Pine Canyon. Again, hundreds of acres of blackened moonscape-type hillsides. Residents in the town below feared that fire would rush down into the community.

Fire did ignite brush just outside of Big Pine, and the fire did burn dangerously close to the Bernasconi Center up the Glacier Rd. Amazingly structures were saved on July 7th.


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