Firescaping: Does Your Home Have It?



With the Decker fire foremost in our minds and on our southern horizon these past weeks, you might be wondering how you can best be prepared for the possibility of wildfire. Firescaping is landscaping design that reduces the vulnerability of your house and property to wildfire.

We at Bearss Landscaping can help you prepare to firescape your lawn. Here are some key points as you look at your property and consider firescaping for your home:

  • The 30 feet closest to a structure is the most critical defensible space area.

  • Well-irrigated perennials should be planted in this zone. Other plant suggestions are non-woody or low-growing deciduous plants with high moisture content.

  • Minimize use of evergreen shrubs and trees within this 30 feet. Junipers, other conifers, and broadleaf evergreens contain oils, resins, and waxes that make these plants burn with greater intensity. Since they have a higher moisture content when in leaf and a lower fuel volume when dormant, deciduous trees are generally more fire resistant than evergreens and also don't contain flammable oils.

  • Create "islands" of plants with space in between. Also, make sure you have separation between layers of vegetation, eliminating a fuel "ladder."

  • Remove dead vegetation.

  • Make use of nonflammable materials such as rock, cement, brick, or water features. The elements of driveways, patios, and walkways are great for defensible space.

  • A home located on a brushy site above a south- or west-facing slope will require more extensive landscape planning for defensible space than a house situated on a flat lot with little vegetation around it.

Careful planning and planting can not only create a beautiful space but also increase the safety of your home. Check out this CSU Extension article for more facts and a FireWise Plant List.

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