Wildfire season is on the prowl, leaving homeowners in a quandary on what safety measures to have in place to prevent such instances. One of the most important measures to stave off flames from wildfires and one that’s often overlooked is the landscaping of the home.
With regards to fires, paying attention to landscaping doesn’t just apply to those living on western hilltops, because forest, bush and grass fires can occur anywhere in the United States. So here are a few ways on how landscaping can protect you from wildfires and other types of fires.
Make A Defensible Area
The fact is that embers landing on the decks, porches, roofs and gutters ignite most homes that go up in flames during a wildfire. So the first thing you need to do is create a buffer zone aka a defensible space around these areas and home in an effort to reduce these sources of fuel.
Keep all vegetation and flammable materials three to five feet away from your home, and also eliminate trees, shrubs, plants and grasses from this perimeter. Other things to do is clear the leaves, trim tree branches and clean up the debris accumulated under porches, decks and other structures.
Moving away from the house, you might want to consider adding walkways, patios, driveways, gravel paths, etc. These types of hardscaping aspects not only add visual appeal to your home, but maintain a gap between the vegetation and your home in the event of a fire.
Additional things to consider within the first 100 feet perimeter of your home are moving woodpiles at least 30 feet away from your home, regular maintenance of the lawn, trimming low tree branches and thinning out shrub and trees among others.
Plant Fire-Resistant Plants
Embedding your landscape with fire resistant plants is highly recommended. Some of the good choices in fire resistant plants include butterfly bushes, roses and hostas, but there are several other fire resistant plants you can choose from.
How and where you populate fire resistant plants can also have a dramatic effect, but the best technique is to keep the smaller plants near the home as they have thick leaves, meaning that they can preserve hot water and also have the ability to withstand draught.
Keep Water Sources Handy
Wildfires are one of the biggest challenges of the fire department so it is a good idea to designate and maintain an emergency water supply especially if you live in a remote area. Keep 100 feet of garden hose at a minimum attached to a spigot, and if you have a healthy budget, consider installing a swimming pool or a cistern or small pond as an alternative.
Along with the tips mentioned above, good planning and a bit of elbow grease can go a long way when it comes to fire safety, and it is best to plan ahead rather than waiting for the unfortunate to occur.