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BE FIRE SAFE: Create a defensible space

BE FIRE SAFE: Create a defensible space
Posted at 6:11 PM, May 16, 2024

SHAFTER, Calif. (KERO) — As Summer nears, KCFD is warning people about the dangers fire could have on their homes if the area around it is not cleared.

  • Kern County Fire Captain and Public Information Officer Andrew Freeborn said the county has a list of things that property owners can do to keep their area safe. That list can be found on the KCFD Website.
  • 23ABC spoke with Marty Martin, a Shafter Resident who has had ties to his property for 30 years. Martin said he works to clear the area around his home several times a year and believes his work around his home has prevented fires.


If you had to guess how many fires Kern County Fire has responded to so far this month, what would you guess? 60? 100? I’m Sam Hoyle, your Shafter neighborhood reporter. The actual number is closer to 150, which according to KCFD Public information officer, CPT Andrew Freeborn makes this statement the busiest start to the month of May for the department in several years.

With Summer-like temps here and summer on the horizon, freeborn said the fire department is advising home and landowners to be cognizant of the space around their home and make sure it’s clear of anything that could go up in smoke.

"If a fire starts on your property, and you haven't cleaned out all of the dead grasses and other things that can burn in your yard. Sometimes it's things that individuals have collected over time furniture or other things, their yard is littered with this. If these things are not cleared out, if a fire does start in or near your property, it is a really good chance that it's going to spread right across your property and right into your home," said Captain Andrew Freeborn, Public Information Officer for Kern County Fire.

But what does a defensible space look like?

Well it looks like this.

Marty Martin has had ties to this property for 30 years and he said thankfully he’s had little in the way of fires spark around his home, because of the preventative efforts he takes.

"We've been lucky in that respect. Everybody around here in this area generally takes good care of their property. So that's important. And I think our new neighbors that are going in over here, I think they'll be doing the same thing. And so until I can eventually figure out what I'd like to do you know, with a bare acre of ground. I'd like to keep it maintained and safe," said Martin.

He said the reason he does it, is partly to keep his property safe, but mostly to keep the people inside of it safer.

"It's definitely -- just the fact that it could be a fire hazard and you want to protect your property and protect your family. That's the most important thing to me," said Martin.

Freeborn noted there are plenty of resources available online through the Kern County Fire Department on how to create a defensible space and how to protect yourself in case of a fire. We’ll have those links in this story online.

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