Residents of the country usually experience more problems
when the elements and earth turn unfriendly. Here are some
thoughts for you to consider:
4.1 - The physical characteristics
of your property can be positive and negative. Rural areas
can be a wonderful environmental amenity, but can also involve
your home in a wildland fire. Homes built in rural areas
face the very real potential of being damaged or destroyed
by wildland fires. Here are a few simple things a property
owner can do to reduce the danger:
|1. Clear land around the house
of excess trees and ground vegetation; a minimum
30 foot clear or "defensible space" around
structures, consisting of maintained and watered
lawn, pruned shrubs and trees can help mitigate
the spread of wildland fires to buildings.
| 2. Replace combustible roofs
and other building materials with non-combustibles;
store other combustible such as firewood away from
| 3. Maintain adequate access
roads and driveways and remove overgrowth and flammable
vegetation immediately adjacent to the traveled
| 4. Have your address posted
and visible at the intersection of your driveway
and the county road.
| 5. Provide a reliable water
| 6. Develop a fire safety plan
for your home and your family.
| 7. Respect the danger of fire
in wildland areas by learning more about wildland
fires and BE PREPARED. If you start a wildland
fire, you may be responsible for paying for the
cost of extinguishing that fire. For further information
on fire safety, you can contact the local Fire
District, Franklin County Planning and Building
Departments, the Public Works Department and the
Washington State Department of Natural Resources.
4.2 - Steep slopes can slide in unusually wet weather.
Large rocks can also roll down steep slopes and present a
great danger to people and property.
4.3 - Expansive soils can buckle concrete foundations and
twist steel I-beams. You can determine the soil conditions
on your property if you have a soil test performed or consult
a soil classification map.
4.4 - North facing slopes or canyons rarely see direct sunlight
in the winter. There is a possibility that snow will accumulate
and not melt throughout the winter.
4.5 - The topography of the land will tell you where water
will go in the case of heavy precipitation. Pay close attention
to these areas in order to determine how water will flow
on your land and develop your land accordingly.
4.6 - A flash flood may occur, especially
during the summer months, and turn a dry gully into a river.
It is wise to take this possibility into consideration when
building. You need to ask if your property is in a flood
zone. If it is, construct your home and outbuildings above
the flooded areas. Construction in frequently flooded areas
is regulated by the Franklin County Planning Department.
4.7 - Winter and spring run-off can cause a very small creek
or become a major river. Many residents use sand bags
to protect their homes. The County does not provide sand,
sandbags, equipment, or people to protect private property
4.8 - Nature can provide you with some wonderful
neighbors. Most, such as deer and eagles, are positive additions
to the environment. However, even "harmless" animals
like deer can cross the road unexpectedly and cause traffic
accidents. Rural development often encroaches on the traditional
habitat of coyotes, rattlesnakes, raccoons, skunks, porcupines,
mice, mosquitoes, ticks, and other animals that can be dangerous
or become a nuisance. You need to know how to deal with them
safely and effectively. In general, it is best to enjoy wildlife
from a distance. Let the animals be themselves, watch them,
but avoid chasing them or allowing your pets to do so. Also
know that if you do not handle your pet refuse and trash
properly, it could cause problems for you and the wildlife.
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife and
the Benton-Franklin Health District are two good sources
for information. They have many free publications to help
educate you about rural living.
4.9 - Many areas in the County are open for hunting. Hunting,
while providing recreational opportunities, is a tool for
managing wildlife populations. It also involves individuals
who may trespass, litter, and fire guns. Don't automatically
assume that your property is in a shooting or no shooting
zone. No shooting zones are designated by the Sheriff's Department.