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Country Living at Its Best

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					• drought tolerance                                            4.    large glass windows facing slope                       For additional information:
• slow growth, which means they require less pruning           5.    unprotected louvers in front                           Nebraska Forest Service
                                                               6.    firewood stored too close to home                                                                                          Nebraska Forest Service
                                                               7.    inadequate vegetation clearance                        Rural Fire Protection Program
                                                               8.    tree limbs overhanging roof.                           PO Box 830815
                                                               9.    chimney spark arrestor missing                         Lincoln, NE 68583-0815
                                                               10.   no access for emergency vehicles
                                                               Roof
                                                               Your roof is the most vulnerable part of your house and      Phone: 402-472-2944
                                                               should be constructed of fire-resistant roofing materials.   Fax: 402-472-2964
                                                               A sprinkler system with a water supply is recommended.       Website: www.nfs.unl.edu
Zone 1: Moist and Trim                                         Additional steps homeowners can take to reduce the risk
Zone 1 includes the first 30 to 50 feet surrounding your       of fire include:
home. Low-growing, fire-resistant plants in this zone          • clearing leaves or debris from your roof and gutters;
resist catching fire and provide little fuel. Turf, ground     • removing overhanging dead limbs;
cover, annuals and perennials form a greenbelt that, if        • removing any tree branches within 10 feet of the
regularly watered and maintained, eliminates dry plant              chimney; and
litter. Occasional shrubs and trees located at least 10 feet   • covering the chimney outlet with a nonflammable
from the house are allowed.                                         screen of ½-inch mesh.
Zone 2: Low and Sparse                                         Outbuildings
Zone 2 includes the area 30/50 to 100 feet surrounding         • have tools such as a shovel, hoe, rake, garden hose
your home. Slow-growing, drought-tolerant shrubs and             and buckets available for use in a wildfire emergency
ground covers in this zone keep fire near ground level.        • store lawn mowers, snow blowers, tillers, garden
Native vegetation can be retained here if it is low-             tractors, etc., in a storage building away from the
growing and does not accumulate dry, flammable                   house
material.
Zone 3: High and Clean
                                                               • store gasoline in approved metal containers away
                                                                 from sources of ignition
                                                                                                                                                                                     Country Living at Its Best
Zone 3 includes the area 100 to 150 feet surrounding           • keep vegetation cleared at least 10 feet in all
                                                                                                                            Written by Bob Vogltance and Larry Wiles,
                                                                                                                                                                                     What every country homeowner
your home. Fire intensity is reduced where there is less
fuel available. Native trees in this zone are thinned and
                                                                 directions from gasoline and diesel fuel storage tanks
                                                               • make sure wiring to fuel pumps on fuel storage tanks       Nebraska Forest Service                                  needs to know about fire!
dry debris is removed. This zone requires major pruning          is in good condition                                       Graphics: www.firewise.org
every three to five years.                                     • make sure electric service lines, fuse boxes and circuit
                                                                 breaker panels are installed and maintained properly




                                                                                                                                        Nebraska
                                                                                                                                         Forest
                                                                                                                                           Service




Danger times 10                                                                                                                  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln does not
1.   untreated wood shake shingles                                                                                            discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race,
2.   home located on a slope                                                                                                    color, religion, marital status, veteran’s status,
3.   wood deck facing slope                                                                                                      national or ethnic origin or sexual orientation.    RFPO3-07
For most people, a home in the country                Before you move                                              After you move                                             • install fire extinguishers in the basement and garage
represents a peaceful contrast to fast-               Before you move, examine the location:                       After you move, there are a number of things you can do    • dispose of oily rags in metal containers
paced city life, providing an opportunity to          • How far is it to the nearest town?                         to protect your home from fire.                            • store combustibles away from heat sources, such as
maintain a job in the city while enjoying             • Are the roads hard-surfaced and wide enough for            Inside the home                                              the hot water heater and furnace
the aesthetics of a country home.                        easy access by emergency vehicles?                        Fires starting within the home can threaten your safety    • store flammables, such as paint, varnish and paint
                                                      • Are there any natural obstacles that may prevent           whether you live in the city or the country. Each room       remover, in metal cabinets
The movement of people from towns and                    access, such as rivers or streams which routinely         deserves special consideration.                            • change furnace filters monthly
cities to rural areas is a national trend that           flood?                                                                                                               • install a residential sprinkler system with a water
began in the 1960s. For many, a rural                 • Are roads cleared of snow in the winter?
                                                                                                                   Kitchen                                                      source having an alternate source of power in the
                                                                                                                   • keep flammable curtains and towels away from
home has become a dream come true.                    • Are roads dead-end, which will prevent emergency                                                                        event of a power failure
                                                                                                                     burners and stoves
However, homes are often built for                       vehicles from turning around?
                                                                                                                   • move handles of pots and pans containing hot liquids     Outside your home
aesthetic values and economic                         • Is there a water supply nearby for fire department                                                                    Living in the country can put you and your home at risk
considerations. In many cases little regard                                                                          away from the front of the stove
                                                         use? If not, how far is it to a water supply, such as a                                                              from wildfire. Taking steps to keep the area surrounding
is given to fire protection. Placed in rural                                                                       • keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen
                                                         pond, lake or fire hydrant?                                                                                          your home safe not only can prevent fires, but also can
                                                                                                                   • make sure electrical outlets are designed to handle
wildland settings, often called the                   • Are electrical and telephone lines buried or above                                                                    make a big difference if a wildfire threatens your home.
wildland/urban interface in which fire is a                                                                          appliance loads
                                                         ground?                                                                                                              Yard
natural part of the ecology, these homes              • Are roads named or numbered to easily identify the         Living Room
                                                                                                                   • install a screen on your fireplace                       • stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from all structures
are in peril.                                            location?                                                                                                              and clear away flammable vegetation within 10 feet
                                                                                                                   • store fireplace ashes in a metal container and dispose
                                                      Remember that emergency vehicles need more room to             of them outside, away from structures                      of the woodpile
Every year many homes in the                                                                                                                                                  • locate fuel tanks at least 30 feet from structures and
                                                      maneuver and turn than passenger vehicles. Without           • clean fireplace, chimney and flue annually
wildland/urban interface are damaged or                                                                                                                                         10 feet from any combustibles
                                                      adequate access, a property may be difficult, sometimes      • do not use extension cords
destroyed. Many of these homes could                                                                                                                                          • remove leaf and debris piles
                                                      even impossible, to reach with emergency equipment.
have been saved if simple precautions had
                                                      Properties with good access have the following               Bedroom                                                    • if open burning is allowed, obtain a burn permit to
been taken before a fire struck. By taking
                                                      characteristics:                                             • turn off electric blankets and heating pads when not       burn debris
steps to protect their property, homeowners                                                                          in use                                                   • if burn barrels are allowed, clear flammable materials
                                                      • roads that accommodate two-way traffic;
can prevent their dream home from turning
                                                      • more than one way into and out of the property;            • do not smoke in bed                                        at least 10 feet around the barrel and cover the open
into a nightmare.                                                                                                  Bathroom
                                                      • room for emergency vehicles to turn and maneuver;                                                                       top with ¼-inch wire mesh
                                                      • bridges, if in the area, that can accommodate heavy        • unplug curling irons and hair dryers when done; store    • mow your yard regularly
The most effective fire prevention device                                                                            in a safe location until cool                            • if you have an external water source, such as a pond
                                                         emergency vehicles; and
yet invented is YOUR attitude. With a                                                                              • keep flammable items such as towels away from wall
                                                      • roads and properties easily identified by name or                                                                       or swimming pool, make sure it is accessible to the fire
positive, proactive attitude you can enjoy                                                                           and floor heaters                                          department
                                                         number.
your country home with confidence by                                                                               • do not use electrical appliances in bathtubs
following the prevention measures                                                                                                                                             Landscape
                                                                                                                   • keep radios away from wet areas                          Your home landscape needs three zones of defense
suggested here.                                                                                                    • install ground fault outlets in circuits near water      against encroaching wildfire. A transition between the
                                                                                                                     (sinks or tubs)                                          zones creates breaks in the path to slow advancing
                                                                                                                   Garage, Basement and Entire Home                           flames. A minimum distance of 100 to 150 feet around
                                                                                                                   • store matches and lighters out of the reach of           your home is required to accommodate these zones.
                                                                                                                     children                                                 Steep slopes or windswept exposures require greater
                                                                                                                   • place the fire department’s phone number and             distances.
                                                                                                                     directions to your home next to the telephone            Fire-resistant plants should be used in the zones of
                                                                                                                   • install child safety caps on electrical outlets          defense. Characteristics of fire-resistant plants are:
                                                                                                                   • install smoke detectors between living and sleeping      • little or no seasonal accumulation of dead vegetation
                                                                                                                     areas; change the batteries in the spring and fall       • open, loose branching
                                                                                                                   • disconnect electrical tools and appliances when not      • non-resinous woody material (avoid conifers)
                                                                                                                     in use; allow to cool before storing                     • low volume of total vegetation
Crown fires are much more difficult to contain than   Surface fuels, such as low-growing shrubs and
                                                                                                                   • install a solid wood door with self-closing hinges       • high moisture content in leaves
surface fires, making them much more destructive.     debris, provide the pathway for making a surface fire
                                                                                                                     between the living areas and garage
                                                      a crown fire.

				
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