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Dry Winter Has Cal Fire Inspecting Homes Early For Defensible Space

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AUBURN (CBS13) — Despite recent rains, fire officials are already warning of a dry, drought-stricken summer that could be worse than the one that spawned last year’s massive Rim Fire.

Cal Fire inspectors are already canvassing high-fire-risk neighborhoods making sure that people maintain 100 feet of defensible space around their homes.

State regulations call for the space, as well as keeping tree limbs above six feet and removing dead leaves brush and sticks from the ground and roof.

Bill Lynch was raking when inspectors stopped by his Auburn home on Tuesday. He remembers the 49 Fire, which burned 63 homes in 2009. His home wasn’t affected, but the threat hit a little too close to home.

“I’m prepared, and I think most of my neighbors are,” he said.

Cal Fire’s Daniel Berlant says crews were able to stop that 343-acre fire when it hit a neighborhood where residents had impeccable defensible space.

“if those homeowners hadn’t done their part to create defensible space, the fire could have potentially gotten a lot larger,” he said.

With hundreds more fires this year than a normal year, inspections are starting earlier.

“It’s helping not only us be able to stop a fire, but it’s also helping the homeowner save their home, save their family, save their property,” he said.

And Bill’s insurance company even came out to inspect his home a couple of years ago.

“Some people I know have lost their insurance because of the fire,” he said.

There are about 100,000 homes in the Sacramento Valley and foothills that require defensible space. Those who do not clear that space could be fined.

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