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Wildfire Resilience - Equipment Use

May contain: grass, lawn, plant, device, lawn mower, tool, mowing lawn, and person
Lawn mowers can be great tools for improving defensible space. But, don't get caught doing the right thing the wrong way! Complete mowing before 10 a.m. and avoid using them in places where the blades can strike rocks and cause sparks. 


Do the Right Thing the Right Way

As annual grasses and brush dry out and wildfire conditions emerge it is important to use caution when operating equipment. Living in wildland areas means that we all need to be responsible when using powered equipment to keep our community safe. CAL FIRE always says, "One less spark, one less wildfire," which should be our goal during dry seasons. 


Lawn mowers, chainsaws, string trimmers, brush masticators, and tractors are all valuable tools that aid in improving and maintaining defensible space. Any tool with a metal blade can pose an increased risk of starting fires due to the higher likelihood of striking rocks and causing sparks. Tools that use plastic  blades or string pose less risk of causing sparks. During the summer relative humidity decreases through out the day making conditions prime for wildfires. Because of this hazard, mowing should occur before 10 a.m. and not during excessively dry conditions or when it is windy. When removing vegetation special care should be taken to not cause erosion issues especially on steep slopes. Erosion can cause water quality issues and damage the environment. 

Spark Arrestors

All gasoline powered equipment used in wildland areas should have an approved spark arrestor. This equipment should be maintained in good working condition including the use of proper fuel. Carbon can build up in poorly maintained equipment or equipment that uses improper fuel. This carbon can result in sparks from the exhaust system. 

Equipment Use

Equipment that is known to cause sparks such as grinders or welders require extra caution. In wildland areas, these operations require a "Hot Work" permit. 10 feet of clearance should be maintained and a fire extinguisher and possibly other tools (water, shovel, specialty firefighting tools) should be readily available to contain or extinguish small fires. 

Don't drive vehicles through dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers from highway and off-highway vehicles such as ATVs or motorcycles can start fires. 

For more information on building wildfire resilience visit

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