County reminds residents to clear brush

San Diego County officials reminded residents today to clear brush around their homes as the most dangerous part of the fire season approaches.

County codes require homeowners to create a 100-foot "defensible space'' around their residences by clearing or cutting back weeds, dead and dying trees and any combustible shrubs and vegetation.

Landscaping around homes should also be fire-resistant, trimmed and watered, according to the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services.

Flammable shrubs and trees shouldn't be planted beneath eaves and attic vents; trees that overhang or touch a house should be cut back; and natural vegetation should be thinned, according to OES officials.

Homeowners are urged to use caution when clearing brush so as not to spark a wildfire, according to the OES. Gas and electric-powered equipment should be used during cooler, less-windy periods before 10 a.m., when sparks are not as likely to create accidental fires.

Despite wildfires in 2003 and 2007 that scorched hundreds of thousands of acres, much of the county remains cloaked in vegetation that hasn't burned in decades, according to the county.

A brochure that addresses defensible space, fire-resistant landscaping, building codes and registration for an emergency alert system in San Diego County can be downloaded at

www.ReadySanDiego.org

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