This dry winter season has created an outdoor environment that is a potential fire trap for homeowners.
Dry leaves and grasses, dead trees and discarded construction materials that have accumulated in yards since Ivan are all possible fuel for fires, states a GIS press release.
The Cayman Islands Fire Service asks homeowners to be alert to the danger of brush fires and to take preventative steps to clean up and maintain their property.
‘Many people have been focused on repairing the inside of their homes and have neglected the growing dry debris in their yards,’ said Fire Officer Doorly McLaughlin. ‘Even homes still awaiting repair need to be checked to remove external fire hazards.’
Tips to prevent wild fires near your home
Plants and Trees: Space trees out carefully when planting them. Prune tree limbs so the lowest is between 6′-10′ from the ground and remove dead or overhanging branches.
Remove leaf clutter and dead vegetation from your roof and yard and mow regularly.
Dispose of cuttings and debris promptly, according to local regulations.
Fuel for the Fire: Remove ‘ladder fuels’ – debris such as dry tree limbs that links grass and tree tops and would allow a fire to ‘climb’ onto your home. Create a ‘fuel-break’ – driveways, gravel walkways or lawns around the home where fire can’t spread (it has no dry ‘fuel’ to travel through).
Maintenance: Maintain your irrigation system regularly; refuel garden equipment carefully and maintain it regularly; store and use flammable liquids properly, and check your pump and/or hose to be sure it is in good repair.
Storage: Don’t store wood supplies near your house, or keep combustible materials under decks or elevated porches.
Make trellises of non-flammable material and when possible, use construction materials that are fire-resistant or non-combustible. Prevent sparks from entering house by covering vents with wire mesh no larger than 1/8′
Fire Exits: Have at least two ground-level doors as safety exits and keep at least two means of escape (either a door/window) in each room.
Smokers and Fire: If you smoke, don’t discard smoking substances in areas that contain dry vegetation.
The Fire Service advises property owners to observe local regulations regarding vegetative clearances and fire safety equipment requirements. If you have any questions about fire regulations or need advice on how to prevent wild fires, call the service at 949-2276.