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Friday, March 19, 2010

Brush Fire Season is Upon Us;
Exercise Caution

**2.44pm** Mountain Valley VFD has just been called to a report of a brush fire out of control on Watauga Church Rd at the foot of Cowee Mountain. Their TAC Frequency is 453.7375 Mhz. NC Forest Service will operate on 151.175 Mhz.

My scanner has come alive with multiple reports of brush fires getting out of control today, and I thought it would be wise to post a reminder to people in the area to exercise caution when burning debris or brush piles or when clearing out garden space. 

So far, there are two active fires, one on Ed Conely Rd in the Otto Fire District, and another on Saldeer Mountain Rd in the Burningtown Fire District. The NC Forest Service have crews working both fires. The Saldeer fire is reported about an acre in size according to radio traffic on 151.175 Mhz. The county units are operating on 453.350 Mhz. 

TAC Frequencies (usually hearable within 5-7 miles of scene)

Burningtown VFD is operating on 453.025
Otto VFD is operating on 453.6625

Fire Prevention Tips

With our long winter now coming to a close, we have been pleasantly surprised by some recent warm weather. With warmer weather comes dry vegetation that can result in brush fires that burn and spread quickly. It is important to take into consideration some landscaping and home maintenance tips to ensure safe surroundings.

Landscaping Tips
  • Remove weeds and keep grass cut.
  • Any dead and piled up vegetation should be disposed of properly.
  • If you have any firewood left over from the winter, stack it away from structures.
  • Limit the use of flammable plants in your landscaping, contact your local home and garden center if you have questions about safe plants.
  • Plants trees and shrubs with room to grow in sparse and separate areas, and choose trees that don't have too many branches. The distance from tree to house should always be greater than the height of the tree.
  • Try not to use plants that develop dead undergrowth.
  • Try not to place plants too close to structures and under overhangs or eaves.
  • Provide adequate water to keep plants healthy and green.
  • Keep sprinkler systems in good working order.
  • Trim dead wood off of trees.
Home Maintenance Tips
  • Trash and debris should be properly disposed of. Piles of trash, such as old home furnishings, boxes and even cars are potential fire hazards.
  • Store flammable liquids properly.
  • Always dispose of cigarettes carefully.
  • Keep the roof clean and clear. If possible wash the roof on a regular basis.