With the start of wildfire season the Anchorage Fire Department is offering free home inspections, an offer Rabbit Creek residents are jumping on.

Tom and Linda Janidlo recently bought a house in the Rabbit Creek area for their children, which is right next door to their own. The residence was recently inspected by AFD forester John See.

"This is definitely enough to cause your house to ignite; you look at what's in there, that's all combustible material," See said as he looked at an outdoor stash of mulch, one of several potential hot spots at the home.

AFD and the Rabbit Creek Community Council want the area to become a Firewise community. Doing so would help homeowners be better prepared for wildfires and other natural disasters.

"I think a lot of folks misjudge what can happen if a gust of wind comes up, if embers are carried into some dry grass, and how fast that fire can spread," See said.

Rabbit Creek offers plenty of fuel for a wildfire.

"This area has a lot of grass, it has a lot of downed trees. If a fire gets started in there, it'll be difficult for someone to be able to knock it down quickly," said council member Ky Holland.

A major concern is the potential spread of fire to nearby homes, including the Janidlos'. They are among the families who live on Pickett Street, which also presents its own challenges.

"There's only one way in and only one way out," said Tom Janidlo. "And if there were a fire hazard, I mean a live fire someplace, a lot of us would be stuck here and we may not survive."

"Since it does have the deck built around it, I would say this is unacceptable," See said about a tree growing through a deck, as he continued to help neighbors find problem areas before they can ignite.

Residents can receive up to $500 in reimbursed fire preparation expenses under a special AFD program. A meeting on the program will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, outside Goldenview Middle School.

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