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Fire Prevention Is the Cure

With local mountains still hanging on to traces of green and a few yards still moist from a wet winter, it may be difficult to believe that another fire season is approaching. And fire officials expect it be particularly dangerous this year as hillsides boast lots of new grass. Add summer sun and spring’s flowers turn to fall’s fuel.

Girding for the long dry season--which officially begins in June--demands a few simple precautions, particularly for residents who live on hillsides or the urban fringe. Chief among them: trimming grass and shrubs around homes and other buildings. Fire officials already have issued hundreds of citations to Los Angeles residents who have failed to bring their properties up to par.

Grass should be cut to three inches and trees and shrubs should be trimmed away from chimneys. Flammable materials such as leaves and twigs should be swept off roofs. Those who don’t comply face fines, plus the cost of having the work done by landscapers hired by the city or county.

Simple measures can mean the difference between inconvenience and disaster--and a single unkempt lot can spell trouble for an entire neighborhood. Brush fires spark quickly and spread even faster. Get a jump on the flames by starving them before they start.

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