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Local volunteers prepare Cave Creek man's home ahead of wildfire season

They created what's called a “defensible space,” the key to protecting your home from wildfires.

CAVE CREEK, Ariz. — Today is Wildfire Community Preparedness Day!

To help raise awareness, local firefighters teamed up with local organizations to help protect a Cave Creek family’s property.  

Upwards of 50 volunteers turned out to remove excess vegetation and clear debris. They created what's called a “defensible space,” the key to protecting your home from wildfires. 

“So when we talk about that, we’re asking people to create about 30 feet of buffer away from their home," said Shawn Gilleland, the public information officer with Rural Metro Fire. "What that does is it gives firefighters the opportunity to get close to the home and defend against the fire.” 

To be clear, Gilleland says the buffer zone should be clear of excess vegetation, furniture, or any other possible blockage. Firefighters need a clear area to surround your home and drive back the encroaching fire. 

Fernando Villalobos owns the property. It was damaged in last year’s Ocotillo Fire. It prompted Sunny Parker, the president and founder of Arizona 911, to check on his property. After seeing the damage, she began rallying the troops to make today a reality. 

“The big reason for what I do is that I just believe that one person can make a change,” Parker said. “And if anybody in the community sees a need, they should just go out and do it. Because you can make a difference, and it doesn’t take much. What happened here today is clear proof of that.” 

As for Mr. Villalobos, he couldn’t be more thankful. Speaking in Spanish he said, “Thanking the good Lord above, because there are still so many good people on earth.”

This wildfire season, he can sleep much easier as his home is well protected.

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