With the prediction of the dry conditions continuing, fire officials encourage residents to take an active role in making their property more fire resistant and defensible should brush fires threaten. For homeowners, the two most vulnerable locations are on the roof and in the areas immediately surrounding the structure.
Simple steps such as removing leaves and debris from roof gutters and designing landscaping with fire protection in mind can often times lessen the chance of losing a structure to a brush fire.
With landscaping, residents are encouraged to maintain a lean, clean and green landscape within 30 feet of the structure. This means there are small amounts of flammable vegetation (lean), no accumulation of dead vegetation (clean), and the lawn is well irrigated and plants are healthy and green (green).
One of the ways homeowners can achieve this is by creating a landscape that breaks up the continuity of brush and other vegetation that could draw the fire closer to the structure.
Residents also are encouraged to:
- Eliminate any flammable vegetation in contact with the structure.
- Thin out trees and shrubs so there is 10 to 15 feet between the tree crowns.
- Prune tree limbs to a height of six to 10 feet.
- Replace highly flammable landscape material with plant materials with higher water content.
- Replace flammable mulch adjacent to the structure with gravel or rock.
- Eliminate “ladder fuels” near the structure that might carry a surface fire to the roof or eaves.