Prevent wildfires – all it takes is a spark

By Mayor Marsha McLean

Santa Clarita in the summertime is a wonderful place to be. Drive around town and you’ll spot children playing in our well-maintained parks and parents pushing strollers along paseos. Summer is when you can get a true sense of the strong family-oriented community that makes Santa Clarita so unique and charming.

However, summer in Santa Clarita, and across most of Southern California, is also notorious for something a little less appealing – heat. The summer months of June through September bring high temperatures that can create perfect conditions for wildfires.

Unfortunately, our City is no stranger to devastating fires. We have experienced multiple fires each and every year, with catastrophic fires, like the Sand Fire, destroying homes and even taking lives.

It takes just one spark to erupt into a multi-acre blaze when coupled with conditions such as dry vegetation and hot, strong winds.

Since fire season is year-round in Santa Clarita, please remember these important tips to keep you and your family fire safe this summer.

Nearly 85% of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. All it takes is a spark, and that could come from a discarded cigarette, kids playing with matches, a campfire, fireworks, lawn equipment or a car accident. Please be especially alert and aware during these summer months and take extra caution.

Plus, all fireworks, even those labeled “safe or sane” are illegal in Santa Clarita.

Fires spread quickly through flying embers. An ember can destroy a home up to a mile away. Luckily, there are steps you can take to make your home fire resistant and to build a defensible space.

To create a defensible space, remove all dead or dying vegetation that could easily catch fire from your home — from gutters, around and under decks, and near windows.

Whenever possible, use ignition-resistant materials when building structures such as roofs, walls, decks and fences. Embers like to sneak into vents and windows, so consider covering vents with metal mesh or baffles, and installing dual-paned windows.

With so much at stake, we, as citizens, must do everything we can to prevent fires to keep our family, neighbors and community safe. To learn more safety tips, please visit ReadyforWildfire.org.

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