Calif. Station Landscaping Is Fire Prevention Model

June 17, 2013
The Rancho Cucamonga fire station's landscaping offers fire-safe ideas to home owners in the northern portion of the city.

June 17--RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- Residents who live in the northern portion of the city now can get ideas for fire-safe landscaping at Hellman fire station.

The Rancho Cucamonga Fire District recently introduced the Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Safety Education Project at the station. Landscaping at the station is meant to demonstrate best practices for homes in the high-fire-hazard foothill areas above the 210 Freeway.

Landscaping at the station, including stones, mulch, and low-lying native plants, when placed around a home can create defensible space to keep flames away from homes.

"This will help homeowners better defend themselves and help us to defend them should a fire burn through the area like it did in 2003 during the Grand Prix fire," Fire Chief Mike Bell said.

In addition, the Fire District recently announced a new warning program and RC Fire Watch. When a red-flag warning is issued to warn of high wildfire risk, the district will hang red flags at its stations.

The department also plans to deploy red-shirted RC Fire Watch volunteers on red-flag days and the Fourth of July to have "eyes and ears" out in the field as an early warning system for fire. Volunteers would also contact people entering mountain areas and make sure they're prepared to go into canyon, mountain and wildland areas.

In a separate project, the fire department is working with Eagle Scout Jacob Fakhoury to identify fire-safe plants in the high-risk zones in

the foothills.

"I will be putting the signs near the identified plants just to help the community so we can help prevent fires as much as we can from destroying the community," Fakhoury said.

Residents can get fire-safety tips and check whether their home falls in the Wildland-Urban Interface Area at

Mary Peat, who lives in northwest Rancho Cucamonga, said a visit to the fire station has given her ideas on how to landscape her own backyard.

"I have a back section like this that I wanted to develop, and the landscape architect was able to answer some questions for me," Peat said.

Peat had to evacuate horses when the Grand Prix fire swept through the area 10 years ago.

The 6,000-square-foot single- story Hellman Fire Station 177 opened on Jan. 24, 2012. A three-person crew staffs a paramedic fire engine ready to respond to fire, medical and rescue emergencies.

The station also houses a fire engine designed for response in the brush-covered hillsides in northern Rancho Cucamonga.

Copyright 2013 - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Calif.

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