In areas that have average to high fire risk, it pays to use fire-smart landscaping to protect your home and property. Inside our homes we have smoke detectors, flame retardant materials and safely designed fireplaces, ovens and stoves. But what have we done outdoors to decrease the risk of fire?
Follow These Tips for Fire Resistant Landscaping:
Use Non-Flammable Hardscaping Materials
Hardscaping features are the non-plant parts of your landscape such as walkways, benches, gazebos, retaining walls, bridges, and more. These structures can be made of wood, which is flammable, but there are many non-flammable options that can suppress or stop the spread of a fire. Some of these options include:
- Wrought iron, steel, and other metals
Add Water Features
Water makes a great barrier for spreading fire. Features like swimming pools, ponds, fountains, streams, can all increase fire safety.
In fact, any non-flammable feature can do the same. A tennis court, running track, or similar space may fit better in your life and give you the same benefits.
Having a drip irrigation system, or sprinkler system on timers, is one of your best tools to keep your property from being susceptibly dry. Check your system to be sure it’s functioning properly, and set irrigation to run overnight to reduce evaporation.
30 Feet of Fire Resistance
Keep the 30 foot zone closest to your home (up to the property line) free of dry flammable materials. Within this zone you want to remove all dead or dry vegetation, as well as any dead or dying plants, and keep tree branches at least 10 feet from your chimney and other trees. Relocate wood piles farther from the home.
A Safe Ring of Plant Management
From your 30 foot zone to 100 feet from the home, your focus should be plant management for fire safety. Keep annual grasses mowed down to 4 inches or less. Create spacing between shrubs of at least twice the shrub’s height, farther apart on steeper slopes. You can do this by removing shrubs, or reducing their height. Ensure trees are 10 to 30 feet apart, keeping the ground’s slope in mine, and remove all tree branches less than 6 feet from the ground. Doing these things will form a fire-preventive ring around your home.
If you use these fire resistant landscaping tips around your home, you can rest safe that this fire season you will have done your best to protect your home, family, and neighborhood.
For more information on fire prevention in California, visit Calfire online.