Dodging Fires: Decluttering the Grounds

The yard cleaning crew is here!

My husband estimates it’s been six years since pine needles and debris have been removed from the grounds.

Up here we need to clear up anything that might encourage a disaster during Fire Season.  We’ll be inspected by the fire marshals sooner or later.  But that’s a cover to avoid thinking about the true danger of losing the very things we work so hard to keep!

Wildfires are a new concern for this newly remarried new retiree.  Our part of the continent is enduring drought conditions and the “Butte fire” started just months after I arrived.  The fire burned from September 9 to October 1, expanded in all directions from its origin,  burned 70,868 acres, destroyed 475 homes and 343 outbuildings.  Two people were killed.  The rivers are low enough that we feared the fire could jump easily into our county and then…

Oh, I had talked about how other parts of the country have tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, blizzards, rattlesnakes, Lyme disease, economic depression, and rabies plagues, so what’s the big deal about wildfires…  The big deal is that I haven’t weathered drought and blazes before.  “God gave Noah the rainbow sign.  No more water; it’s fire next time.”

So I was determined to make clearing our grounds of flammables a high priority, time sensitive decluttering goal before the start of the next fire season.

I estimate the grade of our mountainside lot to be steeper than a seventy-one percent grade (equivalent to a forty-five degree angle) over most of the terrain.  A couple of weeks ago I found rake and manure fork, scrambled down a bit of the slope and over two days, cleared pine needles from the front yard and down the easier access side of the house.  Maybe a tenth of the whole story.

Then, behind the house, I discovered the substantial pile my husband raked up in years past.

I was overwhelmed by the size of the area to be cleared.  I was outright frightened by the extent of the debris burn — legal, outside of fire season —  it would take to dispose of it all.

My husband was equally disinclined to tackle a job of that magnitude and duration.  So we contracted yard workers.  They have elected to rake up and haul off the debris rather than burn it — which makes me happy.  By sundown we should be able to give thanks for a major yard declutteration.

I couldn’t be more pleased.

Author: American Declutterer

I've had three careers, moved among thirteen states, and cleared four houses after loved ones moved on. Sometimes you just have to look at all the stuff and laugh. Then get back to discarding.

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