The California Fires...and You - Contributing Writer Gun Smoke
In this article I will veer off the topics I normally talk about to give all of you a little insight to the problem that Californians’ are facing at this moment. Not many folks know this, but I am a former Forest Ranger turned gunsmith. I was the Forrest Ranger for Morgan County in North Alabama. Like California, this time of year brought a lot of wild fires. I would be fighting fires on my bull dozer from mid-October thru the end of February. A good gauge for determining wildfire season is to watch the kudzu. When it turns brown until it gets green again you can count on fires happening.
Some of you may own land and probably don’t have a “fire plan”. On my property, I have circled it with a “fire break”. This is a strip of bare earth that would stop a fire from burning over onto my property. If you are lucky enough to own farm equipment and implements for tilling the soil, these could be used to form your firebreaks. If you don’t have any equipment, you can use your state equivalent to our “Alabama Forestry Commission”. There will be a small fee for this, but well worth it in the long run. The problem that California is having is that the environmentalist would not allow their forestry personnel to clear from under high tension power lines and do controlled burns to remove the dry dead fuel carpeting the ground. We here in Alabama don’t have as big a problem as they do because of our fire control practices. If you own property, you might want to consider the above.
When it comes to protecting your home from a wildfire, here are a few things for you to consider; types of trees and shrubs around and close to your house, Water sources and fire conditions. Here in the south, pine trees and cedar trees are everywhere. Another tree that should be on the list is the beautiful magnolia tree. These trees are evergreens. They have a very flammable sap. My mother’s yard has 42 pine trees and several cedar trees. This is a firefighter’s nightmare! The yard is full of pine straw and limbs. The pine tree is known as a self-pruning tree. If you have pines on your property, you know what I am talking about. Another fall and winter problem area is your lawn. Most new homes have a variety of turf grass that turns brown in the fall and winter months. If you have a wood or plastic sided house, make sure that you keep a good barrier between your house and the lawn. Dense, woody shrubs that dry out in the winter are especially good fire tinder. I cut mine back at the end of September and they will grow back very pretty in the spring.
Gun Smoke Out,
Bravo Echo Out