How to protect your home from wildfire with some simple landscaping changes – Times-Herald

It’s a struggle. We love gardens, but we know that lush landscaping can endanger homes and neighborhoods during the wildfire season.

If the fire is strong enough, you can’t prevent the house from burning, but take immediate action to minimize the flames, avoid directing them to the front door, and at least fuel the big fire. Can be avoided.

The Bay Area Newspaper Group recently hosted a webinar with Doug Mosher, who prepares and responds to the Oakland community, and Marilyn Sani, Contra Costa’s master gardener and escape-qualified expert. It is ongoing.

According to Mosher and Saarni, the good news is that you don’t have to do it all at once. Divide it into manageable sections and do what you can.

Below are the highlights of the session and the answers to some of the questions raised.View the entire webinar here..


Fire safety authorities have identified zones where homeowners living in high-risk areas must provide 100 feet of protective space around their homes. But Mosher and Saarni say it’s wise advice for all residents of the Bay Area. Think of it this way:

Zone 0, an ember-resistant zone, is 5 feet from your home. The region needs the most severe wildfire fuel reductions. The idea is to prevent embers arriving long before the flame from igniting the substance next to your home and causing it to burn.

Zone 1 is a 30-foot “lean, clean, green zone.”

Zone 2 is also a “fuel reduction zone”, located 30-100 feet away from buildings, structures, decks, or site boundaries.

Zone 0 considerations

For Zone 0, the Forest Fire Commission recommends the use of hardscapes such as gravel, pavement, concrete and non-combustible mulch materials. Bark mulch should not be included in this area.

Q. Which multi is best for protection?

NS. A mulch is defined as covering the soil. Organic or natural mulches may be ideal for gardens as they nourish the soil as it decomposes, while rocks and other non-combustible mulches retain soil moisture and prevent weed growth. It is also useful for other purposes.

Compost can be used instead of mulch unless it contains a lot of large wood chips.

Do not use shredded redwood and cedar bark, also known as gorilla hair, as they are highly flammable.

When looking at Zone 0, remove dead and dying plant debris such as weeds, grass, plants, shrubs, trees, branches, leaves, needles, cones, and bark.

Check roofs, gutters, decks, porches, and stairs for debris and mow branches within 10 feet of the chimney.

Plants should be limited to low-growth, non-woody options that are properly watered and maintained.

Q. But I thought it was supposed to reduce the amount of water used during drought …

NS. Focus your irrigation allocation on this zone and your trees.

Zone 1 considerations

If you have flammable patio furniture or planters on your deck, reduce them from a few to a few. Firewood and lumber stored should be moved to Zone 2.

Replacing wooden fences, gates and arbor with non-combustible alternatives can also help protect your home. Also, removing hedges and tall trees near your home can ignite your front door directly.

Boats and motorhomes also need to move out of Zone 1.

Q. What are the good plants that grow in this area and which should I avoid?

NS. All plants will burn if the fire is hot enough, but some will ignite slowly. This can mean the difference between adding fuel to a fast-moving fire and slowing the pace so that firefighters are more likely to extinguish the fire.

The “non-growth” list includes dried leaves, hemlock, Gulf of California, cypress, eucalyptus, mansanita, coyote brush, pumpus grass, tan oak, black sage, and rosemary that are not regularly removed from pine, juniper, and palm trees. there is. ..

Recommended plants include aloe, bush anemone, California poppy, California red bud, common lipia, coreopsis, cotoneaster, creeping thyme, fuxia, rams ear, lanterna, lavender, lilac, monkey flowers, ornamental strawberries, etc. there is.

Approved trees include ash, beech, citrus, elm, ironwood, maple and oak.

Other recommended plants are rhododendron, rock rose, sage, social garlic, yarrow, yellow ice plant and jerbabuena.

Usually, look for plants that have high water content, large leaves, and grow low towards the ground. Their leaves and stems have low levels of sap and resin, which slows burning. Deciduous trees, which shed their leaves every fall, are generally more fire resistant than evergreens.

Zone 2 considerations

Zone 2 keeps the lawn and annuals up to 4 inches high and creates horizontal and vertical spaces between the shrubs and trees, reducing the chance of fires spreading to each other.

Exposed wooden stakes require a minimum of 10 feet of clearance in all directions, or bare ground.

Q. Isn’t it good for oak trees and other trees to leave fallen leaves underneath?

NS. Yes, that’s the recommended method for oak and some other trees, but in our dry climate, litter can be very flammable. You can leave some of it in Zone 2 (up to 3 inches deep), but not in Zones 0 and 1.

As important as what you plant is how you plant it. To prevent the spread of wildfires, plant in small groups instead of large groups, leaving free space between them.

It is important to keep the height of the trees low by pruning or planting small types of trees in this area, as the fire climbs the slopes faster than it crosses a flat surface.

Maintaining gardens, pruning dead trees, removing weeds, and tidying up plants are also key to protection from wildfires.

Q. Where can I get more information on fire protection and emergency preparedness?

A. Your fire protection area can help, and Preparing and responding to the Auckland community Over 12 guides on emergency preparedness, hardscape tips and plant guides www.oaklandcpandr.org/guides.

To find out if you live in a wildfire-risk area Check the map At the California Office of the State Fire Marshal, osfm.fire.ca.gov.

How to protect your home from wildfire with some simple landscaping changes – Times-Herald Source link How to protect your home from wildfire with some simple landscaping changes – Times-Herald

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