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Neighbors Join Together To Protect Their Homes From Wildfires

Doug McKnight
The Carmel Valley Village fire station hosts a series of Fire Safety Bootcamps.

The embers of last year’s fire season in California have died out, but the memories of that horrible time are still fresh. As this year’s fire season begins, homeowners throughout the state are now looking for ways to protect their most valuable possession. 

On a Saturday afternoon, some four dozen Carmel Valley residents gather at their village fire station to attend one of three fire safety “boot camps” being put on by the Robles Firewisegroup.  Stacy Wood is its President. 

“We do educational events like this. We do roadside clearing in our neighborhood. We also have a neighbors helping neighbors program,” said Wood.

Firewise groups are independent non-profit organizations that operate in neighborhoods throughout the country. 

Credit Doug McKnight / KAZU News
Carmel Valley residents listen to a presentation on how to prepare their homes for wildfire season.

At this event, there were also presentations on how to protect your home against wildfires, focusing on shingles, gutters, siding, decking and attic vents. All are weak points in a home that a fire can exploit.

“Every one of those little weak points is a lottery ticket to a lottery you don’t want to win,” said Devan LeBlanc. 

LeBlanc works with the company Ember Defense. He was explaining how to correct those weak points not only to protect homes, but also to help firefighters. Last year, the Carmel Fire destroyed 73 structures. Kevin Kamnikar is Chief Fire Marshal with the Monterey County Fire District

“We don't have thousands of fire engines out there to put one at each home. So that's why we really try to educate people on what they need to do to protect their property and themselves,” said Kamnikar. 

And as this year’s fire season begins, that is exactly what many homeowners are doing.

The Robles Firewise group is one of KAZU’s many non-profit supporters.  

Doug joined KAZU in 2004 as Development Director overseeing fundraising and grants. He was promoted to General Manager in 2009 and is currently retired and working part time in membership fundraising and news reporting at KAZU.