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“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”
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  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 7 July 2017  

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  Fire danger can persist despite recent moisture
  By Robin Widmar

   Last month’s column about fire weather advisories and burn restrictions may have seemed untimely, since Mother Nature decided to bring snow and rain to the area right as the paper went to press. It was no big surprise; after all, April is historically one of the snowiest months in Colorado.
   
   However, it is important to remember that fire danger never really goes away in El Paso County. Vegetation can dry out quickly in this low humidity environment, and fire weather watches and warnings can follow on the heels of a good bout of precipitation.
   
   Falcon firefighters closely monitor changing conditions and ask residents to do the same. A study by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder’s Earth Lab found that 84 percent of wildfires in the past 21 years were caused by humans. Please do not be one of them.
   
   National Wildfire Preparedness Day
   On May 6, individuals and communities around the country will take part in National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. Destructive wildfires can strike in forested areas or prairie grasslands, but they can also impact urbanized communities — the reason everyone should make time to prepare for wildfires.
   
   While a major focus of wildfire preparedness is mitigation, there are many other things residents can do to prepare for wildfires or other emergencies. For example, develop or update a family evacuation plan that includes pets and livestock, or get together with neighbors to create a communication plan in the event of a fire or disaster in the neighborhood.
   
   Regardless of a home’s location, there are many simple tasks that can reduce fire risk and also be beneficial to spring cleaning and gardening chore lists.
  • Rake and remove dry leaves and pine needles within 3 to 5 feet of a home’s foundation. Continue removing dead vegetation for 30 feet around the home.
  • Move wood piles at least 30 feet away from structures.
  • Clear leaves, pine needles and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks; and from beneath decks, porches, sheds and play structures. Properly dispose of all debris.
  • Mow grasses to a height of 4 inches or less.
  • On mature trees, use hand pruners and loppers to remove low-hanging tree branches up to a height of 4 feet from the ground (specific height depends on the type and size of a tree).
  • Take downed tree limbs and pruned or broken branches to a disposal site such as the Black Forest Slash Mulch site (http://bfslash.org).
  • Never keep gasoline cans and portable propane tanks indoors. Store them away from the home.

   For more Wildfire Community Preparedness Day project ideas, go to the Falcon Fire Protection District website at http://falconfirepd.org, click on the Wildfire Community Preparedness Day button (it will be active through the month of May), and click on the link under “Need Ideas?” Information can also be found on the FFPD website by clicking the “Wildfire Mitigation” button on the right side of the home page.
   
   Station 4 grand opening
   FFPD will host a public grand opening of Station 4 on Saturday, May 13, from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. Station 4 is located at 2710 Capital Drive in Colorado Springs (northeast of Constitution Avenue and Marksheffel Road). It is the district’s third staffed fire station.
   
   Facts about Station 4:
  • The location was chosen to serve the district’s third busiest response zone.
  • It is called Station 4 because it is in response zone No. 4.
  • The single-story, 8,362-square-foot building has living quarters to accommodate eight personnel. It also has three apparatus bays, a workout room and a meeting room.
  • The district purchased the land outright and financed a $1,770,000 lease-purchase agreement to construct the facility.

   
   Easter Egg Hunt “Thank You”
   Hundreds of children and their families turned out for the April 15 Easter Egg Hunt at Falcon Fire Station 1. Judging by the many smiles of kids and adults, it was a huge success. Falcon Fire Department and Woodmen Hills co-hosted this year’s event, but many local businesses helped make it happen. Thanks to Jimmy Johns, Thrivent Financial, Walmart, Swirly Cow, Papa Murphy’s, Pizza Hut, Great Clips and Chic Nails.
  
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  Safety tip
  By Robin Widmar

   Include BBQ grills in spring cleaning
   Cooking out on the grill is something many people look forward to as summer approaches. However, barbecue grills can be hazardous if they are not properly maintained and used. Here are some tips from Falcon Fire Protection District and the National Fire Protection Association to ensure safe and enjoyable cookouts.
   
   Propane grills
  • Inspect all propane tanks and lines for damage.
  • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. Bubbles will form if the hose has a leak.
  • Always make sure the grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • If the flame goes out, turn off the gas and the grill and wait five minutes before relighting it.
  • Turn off the gas when the grill is not in use.

   Charcoal grills
  • Use only charcoal starter fluid –- never gasoline.
  • Never squirt starter fluid onto embers or into flames.
  • When using electric charcoal starters, be sure to use an extension cord rated for outdoor use.
  • When finished, let coals completely cool before disposing them in a metal container.

   
   General tips
  • Use grills outdoors only.
  • Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from any grill.
  • Clean grills to remove buildups of flammable grease on racks and trays.
       
  • Keep grills well away from structures, wooden decks, dried vegetation; and make sure they are not under eaves, overhanging branches or balconies.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher or water source handy.

   
   Stay connected with the Falcon Fire Protection District:
   Website: www.falconfirepd.org
   Facebook: @FalconFireDepartment
   Twitter: @FalconFireDept
  
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