All vegetation is fuel for a wildfire, though some trees and shrubs are more flammable than others. To reduce the risk, you will need to modify or eliminate brush, trees and other vegetation near your home. The greater the distance between your home and the vegetation, the greater the protection.
Create a 30-foot safety zone around the house.
Keep the volume of vegetation in this zone to a minimum. If you live on a hill, extend the zone on the downhill side. Fire spreads rapidly uphill. The steeper the slope, the more open space you will need to protect your home. In this zone, do the following:
- Remove vines from the walls of the house.
- Move shrubs and other landscaping away from the sides of the house.
- Prune branches and shrubs within 15 feet of chimneys and stove pipes.
- Remove tree limbs within 15 feet of the ground.
- Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns.
- Replace highly flammable vegetation such as pine, evergreen, eucalyptus, junipers and fir trees with lower growing, less flammable species. Check with your local fire department or garden store for suggestions.
- Replace vegetation that has living or dead branches from the ground level up (these act as ladder fuels for the approaching fire).
- Cut the lawn often.
- Clear the area of leaves, brush, dead limbs and fallen trees.
Create a second zone at least 100 feet around the house.
This zone should begin about 30 feet from the house and extend to at least 100 feet. In this zone, reduce or replace as much of the most flammable vegetation as possible. If you live on a hill, you may need to extend the zone for several hundred feet to provide the desired level of safety.