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11:05 AM Wed, Oct. 17th

Spring cleaning to clear overgrown weeds reduces fire hazard<BR>

Spring is around the corner and local fire departments are encouraging homeowners, travelers and vacationers to make this a safe wildfire season.

The Hualapai Valley Fire Department is encouraging residents to clear weeds and other vegetation from yards to avoid a devastating fire season this summer.

Residents should clear vegetation from their property, keeping a cleared buffer around homes, barns and other structures, HVFD Assistant Chief Jim Dykens said.

The fire season runs from about April until October.

"With winds we are having in the area, someone burning something next door could end up on your property real fast," Dykens said.

If the property is overgrown with too much vegetation, local fire departments would inspect the property and looks at three things; the amount of the weeds, its location to structures and the height of the weeds.

Property owners who do not maintain their property after warnings could end up fined or even in court.

An out-of-state property owner would still have warnings sent to them.

Another possibility is a lien placed on the property if the city has to contract out to clear the weeds.

For renters, an agreement should be worked out with the landlord.

Weeds also need to be disposed of by bagging it, leaving out for trash pickup or taken to the city dump.

The city of Kingman has special yard waste pickup days for a fee.

Homeowners can also get a free burn permit to burn their weeds.

A homeowner should have adequate water supply and pressure nearby in case a fire gets out of hand.

Kingman Fire Department would inspect a burn pile before burning to check the size of the pile and spacing from structures.

Piles should not have tree limbs larger than 2 inches in diameter, or should they burn paper or construction materials.

Flammable vegetation should be kept at least 30 feet from a home.

Homes on hills should have more clearance since a brush fire can spread quickly up steep hills.

The steeper the hill, the faster the fire will travel.

For vacationers traveling on the interstate and other highways, motorists should extinguish cigarettes in the vehicle's ashtray and not toss it out on the road.

Roadside brush fires caused by carelessly tossed cigarettes are common especially where there is dry brush.

Campers visiting the Hualapai Mountains are also encouraged to thoroughly extinguish campfires and be careful with cooking stoves to prevent a devastating wild land fire, Dykens said.