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What Is a Fire Road?

January 18, 2024

what is a fire road

As California faces an increasing climate crisis, it's critical that it considers its effects on its road system - which people rely on for safe evacuations and fire fighting operations. Californian roads serve as lifelines for many who reside in wildfire-prone areas who use them daily to get to and from work, shops, schools, family and more. Without well-kept roads evacuees could become trapped while firefighters could struggle to operate their vehicles and homes could burn.

What Is A Fire Road? A fire road is used by emergency responders to access properties and deploy hose lines, connect hydrants and set up ladder trucks. The term hails from Australian terminology but may also be known as a fire trail or sentier de feu (French for "fire path"). A fire road must be at least 50 ft (15m) wide to enable fire apparatus to pass safely over its width without obstruction; vehicles cannot park directly adjacent to buildings on any fire roads or fire trails.

As a mountain biker, I often ride along fire roads. Unfortunately, unlike my favorite mountain trails in Maine, these fire roads lack scenic vistas; their only notable feature being an uphill short incline that checks your speed and forces deep breaths as it leads towards Long Pond. Aside from that feature, this four mile journey between Hodgdon Pond and Seal Cove Pond's unremarkable stretch slowly descends Western Mountain before tediously climbing back up again until reaching a pass between two peaks.

Anna Petrova

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Anna Petrova is an esteemed lead editor, where she explores the nexus of modern design, urban living, and sustainability.
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