Due to our ongoing drought conditions, fire-wise landscaping is now a year-round responsibility in Southern California. While no plants are fire-proof, some can greatly reduce the heat generated during a wildfire, and reduce the ability of the fire to travel to a home or structure.
Here are some fire-wise landscaping tips from BeWaterWise.com:
Keep plants properly watered, especially within 30’ of home but do not overwater.
Use of hard scape materials, such as stone/brick/concrete pathways and patios, and inorganic mulches adjacent to home adds to your fire resistant landscape.
Prune back tree limbs to 10’ from chimney.
Clear leaves and needles out of gutters and roof valleys.
Native plants can be used. Some may require trimming up lower branches. Eliminate fuel ladders from ground to lower then upper branches.
Remove invasive plant species, such as, Arundo, castor bean, and ivy.
Ensure that fuel management activities do not disturb birds’ nests, especially hummingbirds’, which are walnut-sized and easily overlooked.
Maintain defensible space around your home. Check with your local fire dept for the required distance.
Defensible space around your home reduces the risk of fire transmission to your property and allows firefighters safe access around structures. More info about defensible space here: https://www.pacificvistalandscape.com/single-post/2018/04/29/Defensible-Space
Going on vacation?
Before you leave for your vacation, make sure that you have also left your home well prepared in case a wildfire occurs while you are away:
Make sure to close all windows and doors securely
Remove anything flammable around perimeter of house, including any outdoor furniture, cushions, door mats, and trash cans
Clean up all yard debris before leaving, including under decks and in rain gutters
Making the choice to adapt these fire-wise tips can make the difference if a wildfire threatens your home or business. If you would like our landscaping experts to asses your landscaped areas, give us a call at 661-222-7525 for a free consultation!
Creating defensible space is important to improve your home’s ability to survive a wildfire. It’s the space you make between your property's buildings and the surrounding area of landscape.
This buffer zone is essential to prevent the spread of fire to your home. Defensible space is also important to give firefighters a chance to properly defend your home and to increase their safety.
100 Feet of Defensible Space Required by Law
Back in January 2005, state law became effective that extended the defensible space clearance around homes and structures from 30 feet to 100 feet. Studies showed that proper clearance to 100 feet dramatically increases the chance of your house surviving a wildfire. Defensible Space Zones
Two zones make up the required 100 feet of defensible space. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and ReadyforWildfire.org have great tips to create a “LEAN, CLEAN and GREEN ZONE” by removing all flammable vegetation within 30 feet immediately surrounding your home. Then create a “REDUCED FUEL ZONE” in the remaining 70 feet or to your property line.
Zone 1 extends 30 feet* out from buildings, structures, decks, etc.
Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
Relocate wood piles into Zone 2.
Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.
Zone 2 extends 100 feet out from buildings, structures, decks, etc.
Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
Create horizontal spacing between shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
Create vertical spacing between grass, shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.
* San Diego County requires 50 feet of clearance in Zone 1. Check with your local fire department for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinances. Plant and Tree Spacing
The spacing between grass, shrubs, and trees is crucial to reduce the spread of wildfires. The spacing needed is determined by the type and size of brush and trees, as well as the slope of the land. For example, a property on a steep slope with larger vegetation requires greater spacing between trees and shrubs than a level property that has small, sparse vegetation. Vertical Spacing
Remove all tree branches at least 6 feet from the ground. Allow extra vertical space between shrubs and trees. Lack of vertical space can allow a fire to move from the ground to the brush to the tree tops like a ladder. To determine the proper vertical spacing between shrubs and the lowest branches of trees, use the formula below.
Example: A five foot shrub is growing near a tree. 3×5 = 15 feet of clearance needed between the top of the shrub and the lowest tree branch. Horizontal Spacing
Horizontal spacing depends on the slope of the land and the height of the shrubs or trees. Check the chart below to determine spacing distance.
Our team at Pacific Vista Landscape Services can help your home or commercial property meet the Defensible Space requirements. Call us today for a free estimate and see what we can do for you!