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Protecting Your Home From Wildfire

Download: Protecting Your Home From Wildfire (PDF)

A leading cause of home loss is flying embers, which can travel a half mile or more from the active fire, so….

Think, Act in Zones Around Your Home

Zone 1: The Home Ignition Zone: This is the area that includes your home and grounds immediately surrounding it, and is the most critical zone to maintain. Remove ember traps by screening all eave and other vents; cleaning out debris from under decks, and screen or enclose these areas.

Move stacks of firewood away from the structure. Remove pine needles, leaves and other debris from rooftops and rain gutters. Trim weeds or other flammable vegetation, especially tree branches, back from touching or overhanging the structure.

Zone 2: Defensible Space Zone: This circular area is a minimum of 30 feet from your house, and 100-feet or more on the downhill side if you live at the top of a slope. Remove dead and dying grass, shrubs and trees. Reduce the density of vegetation, by spacing plants apart, and remove ‘ladder’ fuels that could carry fire from the ground into the treetops. Replace flammable vegetation with fire-resistant plants, green lawn, or other low-growing ground covers.

Zone 3: Fuel Reduction Zone: Remove undergrowth and thin out densely-crowded smaller trees to reduce fire intensity. Experts recommend keeping a minimum of 10 feet of space between trees and shrubs. Trim low-hanging branches of mature trees up to six to 10 feet off the ground.

Reduce Your Risk

  • Trim tree limbs 6 to 10 feet up from the ground; and be sure no branches touch or overhang your house.
  • Be sure all eave vents and other openings are screened.
  • Be sure your access road or driveway is cleared enough for fire engines to access your site.
  • Move woodpiles away from the house.
  • Be sure shrubs and other vegetation within 30 feet of your home is spaced apart so they cannot carry fire from one to another.
  • Clear all debris from underneath decks.
  • Keep your roof and rain gutters clear of pine needles, dry leaves or other flammable debris
  • Use Firewise landscaping designs and .
  • Keep weeds trimmed away from structures.
  • Visit firewise.org for more tips

Reduce You

Consider This

  • Work with your neighbors. If property lines limit your ability to manage the wildland fuels around you, work with your neighbors to create a fire-resistant neighborhood for the benefit of all.
  • Don’t wait until there’s smoke in the air. Every step taken before a fire occurs is one step closer to your home surviving. When a large fire threatens multiple homes, firefighters may be stretched thin, but steps you take beforehand will reduce your risk of loss. Often a well-prepared home can survive a wildfire on its own; and well-maintained property and access will assist firefighters in getting to and protecting your home.
  • Be prepared to evacuate: Keep valuable documents, photos, and heirlooms together. If a fire approaches, take these items and pets, close doors, windows and drapes, and leave when requested to do so.

Firewise Plants for Utah Landscapes

Throughout Utah wildland/urban interface fires are becoming more of a problem as people choose to live in previously undeveloped areas on the edges of cities, areas with trees, shrubs, and grasses that often are very flammable.
Firewise landscaping is the practice of designing, installing, and maintaining a landscape to minimize fire hazard to structures, residents, and neighbors, while maintaining components of the native ecosystems that attracted people to live in such areas in the first place.

Firewise plants all have one or more of these firewise characteristics:

  • Tissues contain more moisture, especially during the fire season.
  • Tissues contain low amounts of volatile oils and other readily flammable chemicals.
  • Plants provide less fuel, either by producing less litter or by staying small.
  • Plants are compact or low to the ground, allowing them to be used in the landscape to interrupt fire pathways.

Broadleaved trees generally are less flammable than conifers (pines, firs, spruces, junipers).

When choosing a particular plant species or cultivar for a firewise planting, favor those that are low to the ground, compact, and that stay green and healthy with low maintenance and minimal water.

Make sure that plant you are considering are cold-hardy (check the USDA hardiness zone for the plant and compare it to the zone for your are) and otherwise well-suited for your locale and the specific planting site.

 

See a full list of Firewise plants and pictures

Visit the National Interagency Fire Center