Home Hardening and Reduction tour scheduled for June 12

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Predictions of another hot-dry summer have state and federal agencies urging people to get ready for wildfires now before homes become engulfed.In Santa Cruz County, Central Fire has teamed up with a Bonny Doon couple to keep their home fire safe. It’s a process they’ve gotten down to almost a science with plans to share with the wider Santa Cruz community.”The way I got involved with the Fire Safe Council was after the Martin Fire, seeing the smoke billowing up and not having any idea of what to do,” said, LizAnne Jensen with the Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County.Jensen has seen her share of wildfires while living in the Santa Cruz Mountains. She and her husband, Ken, have an evacuation plan but they also aren’t giving up their home without a fight.”So, the past 12 years we’ve been prepping our property to make it safe with the Fire Safe Council We’re going to be promoting the ‘house hardening fire reduction,” Jensen said.They’ve completed the required 100 feet of defensible space around their home and removed flammable vegetation within 30 feet of it. Now they’re concentrating on the “zero zone” which is the five feet that are immediately surrounding their house.”Embers will blow in a mile away and blow right up to your house. If you have newspapers in front of your house or a woodpile right next to it, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve done outside of your house if you don’t have that five-foot clear,” Jensen said.They’ve also developed their own misting system that wets down the area surrounding their home.”The nice thing about this rather than the overhead sprinklers is it uses very little water,” Jensen said.They’ve also taken steps that you might not have thought about by installing double pane windows and replaced wood patio furniture with metal furniture.Cal Fire has also had its Fuel Reduction Teams out since December. They’re keeping an eye out for homeowners who aren’t prepping their homes with 100 feet of space. They’ll issue a citation to anyone not follow through with prevention but they haven’t had to cite anyone in years, said Cal Fire Unit Chief, Ian Larkin.”We’re always just trying to educate and work with the property owner but obviously times are starting to change and there may be a period where we have to enforce more of that,” Larkin said.On June 1, Cal Fire will be at peak staffing with 13 engines in place.If you’d like to participate in the tour of the Jensen residence you can sign up at the Resource Conservation District Event website or call 831-419-8710.It’s scheduled for Saturday, June 12, with two sessions. One is being held in the morning and the other in the afternoon. It’ll be limited to 25 people per session.

Predictions of another hot-dry summer have state and federal agencies urging people to get ready for wildfires now before homes become engulfed.

In Santa Cruz County, Central Fire has teamed up with a Bonny Doon couple to keep their home fire safe. It’s a process they’ve gotten down to almost a science with plans to share with the wider Santa Cruz community.

“The way I got involved with the Fire Safe Council was after the Martin Fire, seeing the smoke billowing up and not having any idea of what to do,” said, LizAnne Jensen with the Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County.

Jensen has seen her share of wildfires while living in the Santa Cruz Mountains. She and her husband, Ken, have an evacuation plan but they also aren’t giving up their home without a fight.

“So, the past 12 years we’ve been prepping our property to make it safe with the Fire Safe Council We’re going to be promoting the ‘house hardening fire reduction,” Jensen said.

They’ve completed the required 100 feet of defensible space around their home and removed flammable vegetation within 30 feet of it. Now they’re concentrating on the “zero zone” which is the five feet that are immediately surrounding their house.

“Embers will blow in a mile away and blow right up to your house. If you have newspapers in front of your house or a woodpile right next to it, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve done outside of your house if you don’t have that five-foot clear,” Jensen said.

They’ve also developed their own misting system that wets down the area surrounding their home.

“The nice thing about this rather than the overhead sprinklers is it uses very little water,” Jensen said.

They’ve also taken steps that you might not have thought about by installing double pane windows and replaced wood patio furniture with metal furniture.

Cal Fire has also had its Fuel Reduction Teams out since December. They’re keeping an eye out for homeowners who aren’t prepping their homes with 100 feet of space. They’ll issue a citation to anyone not follow through with prevention but they haven’t had to cite anyone in years, said Cal Fire Unit Chief, Ian Larkin.

“We’re always just trying to educate and work with the property owner but obviously times are starting to change and there may be a period where we have to enforce more of that,” Larkin said.

On June 1, Cal Fire will be at peak staffing with 13 engines in place.

If you’d like to participate in the tour of the Jensen residence you can sign up at the Resource Conservation District Event website or call 831-419-8710.

It’s scheduled for Saturday, June 12, with two sessions. One is being held in the morning and the other in the afternoon. It’ll be limited to 25 people per session.

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