As May approaches, Cal Fire provides advice on preventing home fires

As May begins this week, bringing warmer weather, lower humidity, and drying vegetation, Cal Fire is urging Bay Area homeowners to take steps to protect against fire.

According to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Robert Carvalho, most fires are caused by human activities. For example, a fire in someone’s backyard may start when a lawn mower blade hits a rock and sparks.

To reduce this risk, Carvalho recommends mowing the lawn before 10 a.m. Keeping the grass short can help minimize fire risk, but it’s important not to mow when it’s hot outside.

Other tips for clearing vegetation include using string trimmers instead of lawnmowers and removing all dead or dying vegetation when watering during droughts.

Cal Fire emphasizes the importance of defensible space, which is the buffer between a structure and the surrounding area. Keeping the area within the first five feet from the home clear is crucial, as it prevents embers from igniting materials that can spread the fire to the home. The majority of homes lost to wildfires are ignited by flying embers.

Additional advice can be found on the Cal Fire website at

As homeowners are encouraged to prepare, Cal Fire is also taking steps to get ready for the heightened risk brought by warmer weather, the battalion chief noted.

“In the past few weeks, our fire crews have been engaged in preparedness exercises, practicing using hoses and hiking in heavy fire gear,” Carvalho stated.

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