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Fire safe landscaping tips

Rocking in areas close to your home helps keep fire from spreading to it.
Rocking in areas close to your home helps keep fire from spreading to it.
Copyright Jaipi Sixbear 2011

You're surrounded by natural beauty. It's a fantastic way to live. Still, there are dangers involved in living so close to nature. Fire is one of those dangers. Losing your home to fire is devastating. Years of memories destroyed in a flash. Using fire safe landscaping allows you to keep your home intact. It also gives firefighters a helping hand without compromising the beauty of your lawn.

Barriers are very helpful in fire safe landscaping.

Stone walls, walkways, and water features can slow a fire down before it reaches your home. Even a swimming pool can deter a fire. Use as little as possible in the way of flammable materials.

Clear all dead or dry grass leaves and brush from around your property.

If you're on or adjacent to a hill fire will travel faster so you will need more clearance. It is recommended to have at the very least 30-150 feet of clearance.

Keep trees well-trimmed.

Keep branches at least 10 feet from your roof and the rest of your home as well. Avoid using pine and fur trees as these ignite quickly.

Use fire resistant plants.

Choose those that are high in water content for your yard. Not sure which plants to use? Check with your local greenhouse.

Scatter your plants.

This way, fire cannot leap from plant to plant in a continuous line. Keep groups of plants about 10 or 15 feet apart.

Avoid planting directly under trees.

Planting close to trees allows fire to jump from ground to bush to tree. Clear out any plants, vegetation or bushes which are already in place under trees.

Keep plants away from the house itself.

Shrubs and bushes should be placed at least 20 feet away from your home or other buildings.

Don't skip watering.

Be sure to keep all your plants, trees and shrubs well irrigated. The more water they contain the less likely they are to catch fire.

Use mulch around your planted areas to retain water.

Ring planted areas with rock. This reduces fire spread in your fire safe landscape. Keep your mulch moist.

Trim and water your grass regularly.

Keep it well raked. This cuts down on available tinder in a fire safe zone.

Wood burning fireplaces present a unique fire hazard.

If you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, be sure to stack all wood at least 30 feet from your home.

Take care with chemical storage.

Flammable and other chemicals, solvents, paints, etc. should be stored in metal containers and also kept at least 30 feet from your home.

Consult with your local fire department for other recommendations on maintaining your fire safe landscape.


US Fire Administration

Firesafe Council

This article was previously published by this author on a closed Yahoo! Property.

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