Defensible space around your home can protect it from wildfires

By Kimberly Nelson

Published 07/21 2014 08:54PM

Updated 07/21 2014 10:12PM

HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – A small fire burned a quarter acre in High Country Estates in Herriman early Monday morning. Unified Fire Authority officials believe it was started by an ember left over from a lightening strike Sunday afternoon. Now fire officials are reminding homeowners about the importance of clearing out defensible space around their homes.


Stephanie Biksacky and her husband were asleep when the brush right across the street fro their home went up in flames.


“All of the sudden I saw a bright light in the upstairs window,” said Biksacky. "They were probably 50-60 feet up in the air. We were lucky it was really early and the sun hadn't come up behind the mountains yet and there was calm not wind."


Luckily the fire was knocked down quickly, but the Biksecky's weren't taking any chances. After another close fire a couple of years ago they started making changes to protect their home.


"Slowly but surely, there was a big tree here, three big junipers over here that just broke my heart to cut down but we did because they were way too close to the house,” said Biksacky.


Aside from cutting back trees, and keeping their wood pile away from their home, they also got a new roof.


“I said ‘our roof has to go’ because we had an old shake-shingle roof and so now we have an aluminum roof, and it was expensive but it makes me feel more comfortable,” said Biksacky.


Unified Fire Captain Anthony Widdison says the Biksecky's are doing everything right. "A good rule of thumb is lean and green 30 to 50 feet around your house so we can get in there, fire departments can get in there with their apparatus, their hose, their personnel and actually fight the fire."


While it was hard at first to cut down trees and clear out that space the Bikseckys say it’s much better than losing everything you own to a fire.


"Oh boy until you see that roaring right on your door step it doesn't hit home,” said Biksacky. “Believe me, I’ve seen so many times now. It’s important, it's really important to try to make that space."

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