Fire Risk – Is Your Property in Danger?

burning-fire-1379551592mRyDrought seems to be affecting our society in numerous regions across the country.  Even those who do not reside in rural areas are still at a high risk of being afflicted by wild fires.  Proven methods can be practiced to reduce fire tragedies while still maintaining the landscape elegance intended for your yard.

 

 

To produce fire safe landscaping you must recognized your residence has a two zone fire defense system.  Zone one is the “home defense” which is within 30 feet of your house.  Zone two is the “reduced fuel zone” which extends out from the home zone by a minimum of 100 feet or to your property line.

Courtesy of Fire Away Technologies

Courtesy of Fire Away Technologies

Home Defense Zone

The objective of this line of protection is to eliminate any items that can support the spread of fire by vegetation and create damage to the building and structure.  This process includes planting vegetation that contain a high content of moisture, increasing space between plantings which decreases fuel density, removing any combustible materials within this zone radius and most importantly trimming and maintaining overgrown plants.

Reduced Fuel Zone (Firescaping)

This area is adjacent to the home zone, holds a higher safety risk and must be properly maintained in order to reduce the fire hazard that can spread from the landscape to the structure.  In most cases a firefighters gets devastating results if they attempt to save a structure surrounded by a defense space that has not been maintained thus fore prohibiting them from saving the structure.  If your home is on a steep slope or is in a windswept exposure area you will need to refer to your local reduced fuel zone requirements as it applies to your jurisdiction.

Some viable solutions to creating a safe landscape would be to practice the following:

 

Fire Resistant Plants

Even though there are no fire proof plants which species we choose and where we prefer to plant them can improve safety for your home.  Select plants that are high in leaf moisture content, slow growing in which less pruning is needed, trees that have fewer leaves and open branches that produce less fuel for a fires.

 

Use Noncombustible Materials

The objective is to break fuel continuity between plants groups. Using gravel, masonry and stone walls to isolate your planting can create fire resistance for your landscaping. Creating hardscapes is an ideal prevention method of protection. Replace unpleasant patches and stubborn weeds with fire resistant mulch, rock gardens and ground coverings.  Do not use wood or bark mulches within 3 to 5 feet from your home because when applied in thick layers it tends to smolder and becomes problematic to extinguish.

 

Annual Maintenance

Maintenance is key in sustaining fire wise property.  Keep in mind that your landscape is a forever growing and changing system that must be maintained according to its needs in lieu of standard up keeping.

  • Have leaves and other litter as it builds up through the season removed as soon as possible.
  • Ensure grass is trimmed and mowed in the defensive zone.
  • Plants that are damaged by snow, wind or frost should be removed.
  • Annuals and perennials that have gone to seed or stems that become parched need to be removed.
  • Pruning reduces fuel volumes while stimulating a robust climate for growth.

Landscape maintenance is vital to your home’s defense system and without it opens you up to comprising the safety of your land.

The more or less you do to avert potential fire risk will be determined by planning and designing viable schematics to ensure the protection of your property.  Recognizing the fire zones around your property, utilizing fire resistant plantings, eliminating combustible materials and annual maintenance are good practices for your home defense system and can turn out to be the best decision you can make to protect your premises.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” Benjamin Franklin

Contact our Designscapes Team at info@designscapes.org to help you build a fire wise property.

 

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