Landscaping details can save your home from wildfires, says local firefighter

With extreme forest fire warnings in the area, telling a local firefighter how you manage your property can make a difference.

Orshy Bartlett of the Killaloe Fire Department says the first step is to see if you are at risk, with areas of higher risk, including undeveloped forests or overgrown fields. Although homeowners cannot prevent forest fires, there are a few things they can do to keep their homeless people vulnerable to flames.

The first step is to ensure a 30 meter (90 foot) area around your home that is mostly free of trees or shrubs. This area helps keep the embers from forest fires from finding fuel. Bartlett says trees can act like a cannon shooting embers around your house, and having as few trees as possible in that 30 meter range will reduce the chances of any of those embers landing on your house.

However, this does not mean that this area has to be completely free of trees. Trees planted in this area should be fast-burning softwood, not slow-burning hardwood. The best trees to plant in this area are maples, and the worst are white spruce, jack pine, and douglas fir. Water features like ponds also help contain the spread of fire. Evergreen bushes in 30-meter envelope are also allowed.

Near your home, Bartlett suggests putting up a 2 meter long barrier made of flammable material such as stones or gravel. Plants shouldn’t touch the house as this will provide fuel for the fire to spread. Mulch is also flammable and should not be used.

Bartlett says these steps will help protect your home, but she also urges caution. She says studies have shown that forest fires damage most homes after the main fire, and vigilance is needed to protect your home during this time. However, she says that following these steps will help keep your home safe from forest fires.

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