Cedar fire officials working to keep hydrants clear of weeds, obstructions

Before and after images of a fire hydrant that had weeds cleared from around it by fuels mitigation crews, Cedar City, Utah, June 2019 | Photos courtesy of Cedar City Fire Department, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Cedar City is working to improve access to fire hydrants by clearing weeds and other vegetation.

A fire hydrant before it had weeds cleared from around it by fuels mitigation crews, Cedar City, Utah, June 2019 | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Fire Department, St. George News / Cedar City News

During a short presentation at last week’s Cedar City Council meeting, Fire Marshal Mike Shurtz of the city’s fire department showed a series of slides depicting various hydrants around the city both before and after workers had cleared the growth from around them.

“There is a fire hydrant in each of those pictures,” he said as he showed a slide containing several of the “before” images, of what he jokingly called “hidden assets.”

Shurtz said that the city’s own seasonal fuels mitigation crews have been working to improve hydrant access throughout the city since the first part of June.

“One of the tasks that we have identified for them, based on this nice green-up and the abundant crop of vegetation is to go out and inspect each of the hydrants in the city and identify the ones that are difficult to see, and will present challenges for the fire department if we need them.”

“So, we’ve sent them out with chainsaws, weed trimmers and garden tools, and they’ve been clearing the space around these fire hydrants.”

Shurtz said at a minimum, there needs to be 3 feet of unimpeded space around the each hydrant, or a zone with a diameter of just over 6 feet.

“We need immediate access to a fire hydrant if something’s on fire,” he said.

Some of the hydrants are on private property, including those on or near the edges of homeowners’ yards, he said, adding that the crews have been knocking on doors and informing nearby property owners about the work they’re doing.

A fire hydrant after it had weeds cleared from around it by fuels mitigation crews, Cedar City, Utah, June 2019 | Photo courtesy of Cedar City Fire Department, St. George News / Cedar City News

“We would like to encourage everyone in the city to take a look around your homes, your neighborhoods, and if you see issues like this and you can take care of them, go ahead and take care of them and make sure we’ve got a good, clear space around our fire hydrants, or let us know and we’ll go take care of them,” Shurtz said.

“Even though it has been nice and wet and everything’s really green, it is going to dry out.

“We were on a fire at about 4 o’clock today … a few more days of 85 degree weather and some wind, that probably would’ve been a really good fire,” he said, referring to a small blaze caused by a downed power line on north Main Street, that firefighters were able to extinguish quickly the afternoon of June 12.

Shurtz also recommended that area residents pay attention to how close weeds are to their homes.

“As you look around, if you’ve got some vegetation that’s close to your house, maybe you consider moving that back 60 or 100 feet, so that way, in a couple of weeks when we start lighting off fireworks you’ve got a good safe zone around your home that is clear of these weeds.”

Cedar City area residents with questions or concerns about fire hydrants may call the Cedar City Fire Department at 435-586-2964. Those living in other municipalities and surrounding areas are encouraged to contact their applicable local fire department.

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Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

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