June 14, 2021

American Fork Fire/Rescue 96 N. Center St. American Fork, Utah 84003 Fire Chief Aaron Brems

The 2021 wildfire season is in full swing! With drought conditions and hot, dry forecasts; a brief memo regarding fire protection and “defensible space” around homes located in wildland urban interface areas seems appropriate. The concept of defensible space is one of many valuable tools utilized to protect buildings or structures from fire spread and potential destruction of wildfire.  Defensible Space is specifically defined and required in both the International and Utah Wildland Urban Interface Codes.

Defensible Space: An area either natural or man-made, where material capable of allowing a fire to spread unchecked has been treated, cleared, or modified to slow the rate and intensity of an advancing wildfire and to create an area for fire suppression operations to occur.

Fire moves as it is directed by fuels, heat, and wind. If fuels are minimal in size and or frequency, then fire and fire transfer is minimal. Heat is then kept to a minimum which limits radiant or convective heat transfer which contributes to fire growth as it evaporates moisture contents and increases fuel volatility. At that point, wind has very little fire to push.

The goal of defensible space is to minimize fuels near homes and structures in attempt to minimize fire approaching or leaving a structure and to protect both life and property. Fire is unbiased and very unforgiving. If allowed, fire can move in and damage or consume whatever is in its path. Those who have experienced a fire or work in the fire service will testify of the devastation and heartbreak that takes place when fire moves in. Memoirs, keepsakes, photos, heirlooms, personal belongings and more, down to life itself are all subject to destruction with fire. As firefighters and members of the public safety community, we are committed to do our best to prevent and minimize tragedy. Keep in mind, we are usually called after the damage has begun. As community members, you can help increase overall successes and minimize damages with a proactive approach managing combustible fuels around your home before fire becomes a problem.

We love the diverse arrangement of vegetation in our area and recognize its beauty. We love the mountains, hills, rivers, valleys, and lakes that surround us. We love our communities, our homes, our neighborhoods and yes, we even love some of our neighbors…most of our neighbors… all our neighbors? 😉 Please help us protect the things we (yourself included) all work so hard to enjoy. Give your building(s) whether it be your home, office, business, or whatever, adequate defensible space from the potential damage of wildfire. It is not called “wild” for nothing!

Wishing you a safe, most enjoyable fire season!

-The American Fork Fire Department