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Jun 20, 2013 9:46 PM by John Patrick

Tucson preps for brushfires

TUCSON - Every year Tucson sees its share of brushfires and local authorities want to make sure your property is prepared.

In 2012 Tucson saw 519 brushfires within the city limits and that's a below average year. The city usually experiences between 1,200 and 1,400 brushfires annually.

Marla Barefield is one Tucsonan who was shocked when she heard how many fires can spark up in Tucson. Like most, she felt that the bigger concern was in the surrounding mountains.

"I have friends that live in the forest and they have to deal with evacuations but I didn't think that I would have to deal with that here," explains Barefield.

Forty-percent of the fires that start in the city limits do so in washes putting the homes that line these washes in the direct path of hundreds of fires a year.

Fueled by buffelgrass and downed tree limbs, a brushfire that burns hotter than 1,200 degrees is not uncommon. That is exactly why Willie Treatcher with Rural Metro Fire Department says clearing your property of these materials is the best way to keep it safe.

Taking the time to clear 30 feet of defensible space around your home could save a lifetime of memories. Treatcher says that little bit of space helps stop the fire before it can reach your home.

"If nothing has been cleared from a home it makes it difficult if not impossible for us to protect those homes," explains Treatcher.

The majority of Tucson's brushfires are human caused and most come during the summer months.

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