Even when used with the best intentions, lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws, grinders and trimmers can all spark brush fires
With the large amounts of rainfall we received this past winter, vegetation growth will be more predominant than in previous years. Maintaining the growth on your property is known as "creating a defensible space."
For those homes situated on a hillside, that defensible space can help reduce the potential for fire spread. However, ensuring that you are clearing away that growth on your property the proper way is very important. Are you doing the right thing the wrong way? For example, trying to eliminate the fire hazards around your home and, in the process, starting a brush fire?
Each year the Monterey Park Fire Department responds to fires started by residents using equipment the wrong way. Whether working to create a defensible space around your home or just mowing the lawn, if you live in a brush area you need to use all equipment responsibly. Lawn mowers, weed eaters, chain saws, grinders and trimmers can all spark a brush fire.
Do your part, the right way, to keep your community fire safe. Here’s how to do it the right way:
- Do all yard maintenance that requires a gas or electrical motor before 10 a.m. Not in the heat of the day, or when the wind is blowing!
- Lawn mowers are designed to mow lawns. Never use lawn mowers in dry vegetation.
- Use a weed trimmer to cut down dry weeds and grass.
- Remove rocks in the area before you begin operating any equipment. A rock hidden in grass or weeds is enough to start a fire when struck by a metal blade.
- In brush areas, spark arresters are required on all portable gasoline powered equipment including tractors, harvesters, chain saws, weed eaters, mowers, motorcycles, and All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).
- Keep the exhaust system, spark arresters and mower in proper working order and free of carbon buildup. Use the recommended grade of fuel and don’t top off.
- Keep the engine free of oil and dust, and keep the mower free of flammable materials.
- Keep a cell phone nearby and call 911 immediately in case of a fire.
Division Chief Matt Hallock, PIO, Monterey Park Fire Department