The goats have returned to Piedmont, and just in the nick of time. As the days heat up, it's important to note that California summers are now often followed by what has, alarmingly, become known as "fire season" (aka: "fall").
While those of us in the East Bay enjoy breathtaking landscapes, sparkling water vistas, and shaded trails, we should also be mindful that wildfires are an unfortunate reality in our neck of the woods. - especially in the hills! The goat's job is to eat the dry grass that provides fuel to an unwelcome flame. (Although a nap seems to hold more allure.)
Often overlooked, one aspect of fire safety is fuel reduction; that means clearing the flammable materials and vegetation on and around our properties that can serve as potential fuel for wildfires. In other words, if you haven't got a goat, it may be time to pull out the mower, hedge trimmer, or the hoe.
"But it's just a small patch of dry grass, how much harm can it really cause?"
IF it were just YOUR patch of grass, perhaps not much. But it only takes a small spark to escalate into a raging inferno. Add an abundance of nearby fuel (our neighbors' overgrown yards, abutting hillsides, and Eucalyptus forests), and you've got a clear-cut recipe for disaster. Even a tiny ember can be carried for miles by the wind, igniting dry leaves, twigs, or overgrown vegetation, and before you know it, a fire is threatening not only your home but everyone's safety as well.
By creating a "buffer zone," you're giving firefighters a "fighting" chance to protect your property and the surrounding environment in the unfortunate event of a wildfire.
So, where do I begin? (Thank you for asking.)
Here are some practical steps you can take to create defensible space:
Remember, prevention is about protecting what you hold near and dear. By investing time and effort into a few proactive measures, you're not only safeguarding your home, but also contributing to the overall safety and resilience of our stunning Northern California communities.
But if clearing brush is outside your skill set, reach out to your local fire departments; they often provide resources, guidance, and even assistance in creating defensible spaces. In addition, there are many experienced, hard-working crews who clear overgrown vegetation for a living, so avail yourself of their services. They'll no doubt, appreciate the work.
While it's important to note that fire is a natural part of the California landscape (the giant redwoods can't reseed without fire), by proactively taking steps to reduce fuel around our homes, we can coexist safely with the environment we live in and cherish.
On that note, stay safe, stay informed, and let's protect what we've worked so hard to obtain, AND let's thank the goats for the contribution they make as well. BAAAAH!
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 750 humorous but always informative, essays on life and real estate.