In a climate as dry as ours, wildfires pose a particularly dangerous threat to destroy our homes and property. In fact, the Dana Estates Neighborhood recently experienced a two-alarm fire in the open space along Highway 4:
This fire burned about 12 acres in one hour, though thankfully no people or structures were harmed. As fire season enters in full stride, it is more important than ever to take precautions and protect your home.
Follow these Cal Fire landscaping guidelines to help create a fire-resistant environment around your home:
Choose Fire-Resistant Plants
By choosing plants that are high in moisture and near the ground, you can slow the spread of fire across your yard. Plants like aloe and rose shrubs are both attractive and fire-resistant. But remember, fire-resistant does not mean fire-proof. Any plant is susceptible to be burned or damaged by fire, and does not guarantee to stop its spread.
It is also important to carefully maintain any plants you already have that may produce high amounts of dry debris or litter. Trees like the Mexican fan palm or juniper are known to retain dead debris and are fire hazards.
To learn more about fire-resistant plants, check out this helpful guide to fire-resistant plants.
Create “Fuel Breaks”
According to the UCCE landscaping guide, it is important to create open spaces in your yard in which there is little or no fuel for fire to spread to your house. These open spaces are called fuel breaks.
You can create fuel breaks by spacing plants at a distance that prevents the fire’s spread. The recommended spacing distance is 10 feet between trees, and twice the shrub height for shrubs.
Another way to create fuel breaks is by replacing large beds of bark mulch or dry grassy areas with decorative rocks. Not only does this provide a fuel break, but it will prove to be lower maintenance throughout the year.
Of course, not everyone wants to redesign their entire yard. It is important to remember that proper yard maintenance and awareness of your surroundings are the best protection against wildfire. Keep your trees trimmed, debris clear, and plants watered throughout the dry season and you will be better prepared in the unfortunate event of a fire.