Strategic landscaping can protect homes and property from wildfire | Peninsula Newspaper – News

The open space, the view and the nourishing breeze on the Palos Verdes peninsula convey a sense of security and well-being. But behind this natural beauty lies a danger that threatens everyone. Wildfire.

Extreme fire weather is becoming increasingly common across California, and there is a risk of ignition in any neighborhood near wild vegetation. Community members of the Palos Verdes peninsula must defend themselves against persistent forest fire hazards.

Whether homeowners or tenants, commercial or residential property managers, everyone contributes to protecting themselves and their neighbors from wildfire. We all have an influence. Below are the basics of structural protection that anyone can do.

# 1: your structure

Their structure must be preserved in order to withstand an attack by fire blisters – those burning embers caught in the wind and pushed far in front of a fire. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, fire marks are the leading cause of structural loss. Here are five things everyone can and should do to keep your home safe:

  • Sweep leaves and dead material from the roof, gutters, and around the structure.
  • Check all the openings and vents on your structure and look closely at the vents in the attic. Salt air corrodes metal mesh screens. If necessary, replace the inexpensive screens.
  • Fill in any cracks and cracks on the skin of the building.
  • Clean, fill in gaps and paint the underside of the eaves.
  • Check and replace the effects of the weather on windows, doors and garage doors.

# 2: the first 5 feet around your home

Flames expand next to vertical surfaces, and if a fire starts next to your house, even a small one, the flames can expand to reach vulnerable panels and openings. Some of the flammable items commonly found within 5 feet of a house include recyclables, stored wood, tools, toys, and trash. Residents should:

  • Remove the Clutter: Items are either stored inside, in a non-flammable shed, or 30 feet from a structure.
  • Prune and remove all dead, dying, and diseased plants.
  • Water the plants around a house to ensure proper leaf moisture.
  • Keep branches of trees and large shrubs 15 feet from a structure and 10 feet above the roof.
  • Remove dry wood mulch.

# 3: Defensible Space

The areas immediately around your home should be able to withstand fires and excessive heat without igniting. Here are five tasks that are inexpensive but have a big impact:

  • Prune and remove all dead, dying, and diseased plants.
  • Paint, repair, and replace landscape features such as shadow and play structures.
  • Water ornamental plants to ensure proper leaf moisture.
  • Cut any non-irrigated ground cover to 4 inches.
  • Remove ground covers and vines that are crawling up fences, shade structures, shrubs, trees, and power poles.

For residents of Palos Verdes, in addition to fire hazards, living safe means paying attention to their immediate surroundings and taking steps to reduce the risks associated with forest fires. We all have an impact – we all contribute to the well-being of our families and neighbors.

For more information on fire safety, please participate in the free online fire safety workshop hosted by the West Basin Municipal Water District on April 21st at 6pm. Register at

Douglas Kent MS, MLA, is the author of Firescaping, a best-selling residential protection program in the United States, and guest speaker at the West Basin PV Firescaping Workshop.

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