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Heat Wave Raises Fire Risk

Bill Sutton has a bird’s eye view over Tepesquet Canyon from his mountainside home.

“I think the last significant wildfire that came through here was probably 55 or 60 years ago”, Sutton says gazing out over the remote, wooded canyon where dozens of people live, “so its time.”

Sutton and his Tepesquet Canyon neighbors live year round with high fire danger amid the ongoing severe drought.

“We’ve been out here for ten years now and its very worrisome to have this kindling box all around us”, Sutton says, “we make sure our fire pump is operational and everything is up to snuff, we have plenty of gasoline for the fire pump and we have plenty of water in our tank, we even have drills where we will bring out our fire hose and hook it up to the pump and make sure everything is working as it should.”

Most Tepesquet Canyon property owners have complied with a regulation requiring adequate defensible space around their properties.

“We’ll spend three or four weekends, my wife and I will go down the hill and use weed-wackers to cut all the dry vegetation around the property, to form a 100 foot defensible space around the house”, Sutton says pointing to the clearing around his property.

With conditions so dry and the fire danger so high, its going to be another tense several days for Sutton and others in Tepesquet Canyon as a heat wave moves in.

“I’ll be staying home, I won’t be going away on travel, or anything, because it is a good idea to stay where the action is”, Sutton says, “we’ve had wildfires out here that came within two miles of our house, and it was very scary.”

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