Mammoth Lakes officials and residents like to say they are a “village in the trees”. That’s lovely, but it’s also dangerous.
Over the years, serious brush and forest fires have burned frighteningly close to Mammoth. Fire Chief Brent Harper, along with the Forest Service, continues to work hard to cut the disaster risk.
Chief Harper said that he and his crew have worked on many fuel reduction projects in and around Mammoth. The key project – defensible space around homes. Crews have conducted almost 1400 home inspections.
They go door to door and provide notices, especially to second homeowners. Firefighters then send a chipper around every week-end to take care of material people have cut to reduce fuels. Chief Harper said they need the public to help reduce fuels around each house so “the fire doesn’t have a clear path to the structure.”
Chief Harper said the biggest problem in Mammoth is the big piles of firewood stacked right next to homes. The Chief said that according to code, firewood needs to be stacked 30 feet away from the structure during the fire season. The Chief said the department will allow people to use fireproof tarps to cover their wood stacks.
How dramatic is a defensible space to save homes? Chief Harper has fought fires for over 30 years. He has seen the defensible space save homes. “It works,” he said. And, in a disastrous blaze, firefighters will protect homes that are possible to save.
If you need help from Mammoth Fire Department, call them to schedule an inspection. 760-934-2300.