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

It’s a fight. We love gardens, but we know that lush landscaping can put homes and neighborhoods at risk during the forest fire season.

If the fire is strong enough, there is no way you can prevent the house from burning, but take immediate action to minimize the flames, avoid aiming them at the front door, and at least start the big fire. Can be avoided.

The Bay Area Newspaper Group recently hosted a webinar with Doug Mosher preparing and responding to the Oakland community and Marilyn Sani, Contra Costa’s master gardener and escape expert. It’s going on.

The good news, according to Mosher and Saarni, is that you don’t have to do everything at once. Break it up into manageable sections and do what you can.

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


Fire authorities have identified zones where homeowners living in risk areas must provide 30 meters of shelter around their homes. But Mosher and Saarni say it is wise advice for all Bay Area residents. Think about it like this:

Zone 0, an ember-resistant zone, is 1.5 m from your home. The region needs the greatest fuel reductions in forest fires. The idea is to prevent embers that arrive long before the flame from igniting and burning the substance next to your house.

Zone 1 is a 9 m long “slim, clean, green zone”.

Zone 2 is also a “fuel cut zone” located 30-100 feet from any building, structure, deck, or site boundary.

Zone 0 considerations

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

Q. Which multi is best for protection?

NS. Mulch means covering the ground. Organic or natural mulches can be ideal for gardens as they nourish the soil as it decomposes, while stones and other non-flammable mulches retain soil moisture and prevent weed growth. It is useful for other purposes as well.

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

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

When looking at Zone 0, you are removing 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-growing, non-woody options that are properly watered and cared for.

Q. But I thought it was supposed to reduce water usage during the drought …

NS. Focus your irrigation allotment 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. Stored firewood and construction timber should be moved to Zone 2.

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

Boats and campers also have to leave Zone 1.

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

NS. All plants will burn when the fire is hot enough, but some will slowly ignite. This can mean the difference between adding fuel to a fast moving fire and slowing down the pace so the fire department can put out the fire sooner.

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

Recommended plants are aloe, bush anemone, California poppy, California red bud, common lipia, coreopsis, cotoneaster, creeping thyme, fuxia, ram’s ear, lantern, lavender, lilac, monkey flowers, ornamental strawberries, etc.

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

Other recommended plants are Rhododendron, Rockrose, Sage, Social Garlic, Yarrow, Yellow Ice Plant, and Jerbabuena.

Usually look for plants with high water content, large leaves, and low soil. Their leaves and stems are low in sap and resin, which slows down the burning sensation. Deciduous trees, which lose their leaves every fall, are generally more fire resistant than evergreen trees.

Zone 2 considerations

Zone 2 will keep the lawn and annuals up to 4 inches tall, and create horizontal and vertical spaces between the shrubs and trees, reducing the likelihood of fires spreading among themselves.

Exposed wooden posts require a minimum distance of 3 m in all directions or bare ground.

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

NS. Yes, this is the recommended method for oak and some other trees, but in our dry climates, bedding can be very flammable. You can leave part 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 forest fires from spreading, plant in small groups rather than large groups, with space between them.

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

Maintaining gardens, pruning dead trees, removing weeds, and cleaning up plants are also keys to protecting against forest fires.

Q. Where can I get more information about fire safety and emergency preparedness?

A. Your Fire Department Can Help, Prepare and Respond to the Auckland Community Over 12 Emergency Preparedness Guides, Hardscape Tips, and Plant Guides

To find out if you live in a wildfire risk area, check the map at the California Office of the State Fire Marshal,

How To Protect Your Home From Forest Fires With Some Simple Landscaping Changes – Times-Herald Source link How To Protect Your Home From Forest Fires With Some Simple Landscaping Changes – Times-Herald

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