Protect your home from urban wildfires by watering your lawn

AUBURN, Wash.  - A small brush fire in a gully behind a field at Rainer Middle School came within a couple hundred feet of homes.

“As you can see around us, we’ve got a lot of trees, a lot of dried grass and we’ve got homes right up against it,” said Kyle Ohashi with Puget Sound Regional Fire.

He says neighborhoods that are close to open fields, dry brush are prone to what firefighters call interurban interface fires, that can spread from brush to homes quickly.

“Especially in South King County where there is a lot of undeveloped land. It’s heavy wood, it’s a lot of brush and we’re building neighborhoods in these areas,” said Ohashi.

When homes are built close to forests and other types of natural vegetation Ohashi says it’s more likely for fires to accidentally start when people have campfires or grill outdoors near this kind of land.

Ohashi says one thing homeowners can do is water lawns, it may raise your water bill but the greener the grass, the slower the fire will spread.

He also says create defensible space around your home, clean out gutters with dried leaves and other materials that can catch fire.

“Look on the ground, cutting back the shrubbery and make sure there is a space between them, two to three feet would be ideal,” said Ohashi.

Newer developments tend to have homes very close together. Ohashi says by creating that defensible space homeowners are not only protecting their property, but also creating distance to keep fires from spreading to neighbors.

The brush fire in Auburn was about 100 feet in size and quickly extinguished. The cause is still under investigation. No homes were damaged.