California fire season: Here's how brush clearance could save your home

VENTURA, Calif. (KABC) -- As fire officials prepare for a potentially dangerous fire season, they want you to get ready as well.

Capt. Brian McGrath with the Ventura County Fire Department took ABC7 to a home in Ojai on Wednesday to showcase what needs to be done to give your home defensible space in case a fire comes roaring down.

"This grass here, when the fire starts, if it starts over there or the ember comes, it's going to run straight up against it," explained McGrath as he toured the area. "We want to get this grass a minimum of 10 feet away from that utility."

McGrath said to make sure your rain gutters are clear of the dry leaves that tend to pile up inside them. Also, get rid of any dry leaves that have accumulated on your roof as well. You may also notice trees brushing up against your home, which McGrath said is a major hazard.

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"You have the fires starting in the grass and the light fuels, moving up and getting into these trees, it takes the fire straight up and getting into these leaves," he said. "It sends up embers into your attic, and that's where they're going to stay for a little while and start festering for a little while and get bigger. So we want to move these trees off the house and giving the house the best defensible space we can."

If you have a deck, remove all flammable materials.

Don't use it as a storage space. If you live in an area where brush clearance is required and you don't take care of this, depending on where you live, the county will do it for you and add the cost to your property tax bill.

"Defensible space is where it all begins," said McGrath. "That's where we work as a team. Firefighters and homeowners work together to protect yourself and the community."

For more help on creating defensible space around your home, visit the Venture Fire Department's website.

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