The Fire Wise Landscape

If you live in an area with a history of catastrophic wildfires, you're at risk of losing your home. Create defensible space around your home by thinning overgrown vegetation, replacing highly flammable plants with low-growing and succulent varieties, removing lower limbs from trees, eliminating or modifying wooden structures, keeping your property tidy, and keeping plants well watered. Also consider building masonry patios (made of stone, concrete, or other nonflammable material) instead of wooden decks and using steel fencing or masonry walls instead of wooden fences. Make your house less flammable by enclosing eaves and installing a "Class A" fireproof roof and fireproof siding.

No landscape is ever completely fire-safe, because anything will burn in a violent wildfire. But the strategies in this section improve your chances. Get the lowdown at the Firewise Communities Web site (www.firewise.org). See Figure A-2 for a diagram of a typical fire-wise landscape.

Figure A-2:

The fire-wise landscape.

.,- - Zone 4: Preserve native ecosystems through selective thinning into well-spaced islands

Non-flammable hardscape, no decks

.,- - Zone 4: Preserve native ecosystems through selective thinning into well-spaced islands

Zone 1: Irrigated, low-growing groundcovers. Small shrubs and fire-resistant trees no closer than 10' from home

Zone 2: Irrigated, low-growing ground covers, few or no trees

Zone 3: Well-spaced trees and shrubs, remove dead foliage and lower limbs on trees to at least 6' above ground

Provide erosion control along slopes

Masonary walls to deflect fire

Mow dry grasses and weeds

Zone 1: Irrigated, low-growing groundcovers. Small shrubs and fire-resistant trees no closer than 10' from home

Zone 2: Irrigated, low-growing ground covers, few or no trees

Zone 3: Well-spaced trees and shrubs, remove dead foliage and lower limbs on trees to at least 6' above ground

Provide erosion control along slopes

Masonary walls to deflect fire

Mow dry grasses and weeds

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