Nothing can completely guarantee safety from fires. However, some simple strategies in the landscape can help protect homes and leave them more defensible against encroaching fires.
Thinking ‘lean, clean, and green’ improves defensible spaces.
Plan landscapes to minimize flammable vegetation like some conifers or eucalyptus species. Avoid accumulation of dead vegetation, brown grass, or woodpiles. Keep plants healthy and green. Taking these steps significantly improves fire safety. Immediate removal of dead trees is also critical.
Maintain a defensible space around structures.
Remove branches that overhang structures, and maintain a low density of plants within 30 feet of structures. This improves the ability to protect those structures and reduces the likelihood of fire spreading from the landscape to the home. Remember to maintain driveway clearance. Fire trucks and other emergency equipment must have access to the property to defend it.
Prevent ground fires from moving into tree canopies.
Low-density plantings near structures and pruning to raise tree canopies over grass or other ground covers reduces the chances that a low-burning ground fire becomes a more dangerous canopy fire. Increase spacing on slopes, where it is easier for fire to jump into the tree canopy.
Fire can move very quickly from wildlands to landscapes, but following these guidelines and those provided by Cal Fire (readyforwildfire.org) will improve defense capabilities and reduce the potential for disaster.