Create a defensible space plan and implement the plan Before its to late!

Here at A.B.C. Consulting Arborist we take tree management seriously, and fire safety is a real area of concern for us, especially in light of  global warming and the effects it is having on our Urban and Native forests. The following is a good foundation for a Firewise/Defensible plan. For a Custom Solution and a more comprehensive plan contact us and we will visit your site and draw up a custom plan to protect you and your property.

The primary goal for Firewise landscaping is fuel reduction — limiting the level of flammable vegetation and materials surrounding the home and increasing the moisture content of remaining vegetation. This includes the entire ‘home ignition zone’ which extends up to 200 feet in high hazard areas.

Use the Zone Concept

The zone concept

Zone 1 is the 30 feet adjacent to the home and its attachments; Zone 2 is 30 to 100 feet from the home; Zone 3 is 100 to 200 feet from the home.

Zone 1 (All Hazard Areas) This well-irrigated area encircles the structure and all its attachments (wooden decks, fences, and boardwalks) for at least 30 feet on all sides.

  • Plants should be carefully spaced, low-growing and free of resins, oils and waxes that burn easily.
  • Mow the lawn regularly. Prune trees up six to ten feet from the ground
  • Space Evergreen trees 30 feet between crowns. Trim back trees that overhang the house.
  • Create a ‘fire-free’ area within five feet of the home, using non-flammable landscaping materials and/or high-moisture-content annuals and perennials.
  • Remove dead vegetation from under deck and within 10 feet of the home.
  • Consider fire-resistant material for patio furniture, swing sets, ect.
  • Firewood stacks and propane tanks should not be located in this zone
  • Water plants, trees and mulch regularly.
  • Consider xeriscaping if you are affected by water-use restrictions.

Zone 2 (Moderate and High Hazard Areas) Plants in this zone should be low-growing, well- irrigated, and less flammable.

  • Leave 30 feet between clusters of two to three trees, or 20 feet between individual trees.
  • Encourage a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees.
  • Create ‘fuel breaks’, like driveways, gravel walkways and lawns.
  • Prune trees up six to ten feet from the ground.

Zone 3 (High Hazard Areas) Thin this area, although less space is required than in Zone 2. Remove smaller conifers that are growing between taller trees. Remove heavy accumulation of woody debris.  Reduce the density of tall trees so canopies are not touching.

Maintaining the Firewise Landscape

1. Keep trees and shrubs pruned six to ten feet from the ground.

2. Remove leaf clutter and dead and overhanging branches.

3. Mow the lawn regularly and dispose of cutting and debris promptly.

4. Store firewood away from the house.

5. Maintain the irrigation system regularly.

6. Familiarize yourself with local regulations regarding vegetative clearance, debris disposal, and fire safety requirements for equipment.

Use Grass and Dricveways as fire break

Use grass and driveways as fuel breaks from the house.

Home protection from fire

Use faux brick and stone finishes and high- moisture-content annuals and perennials.

use plants and drought resistant vegetation

Use groupings of potted plants that include succulents and other drought resistant vegetation.

use pavers for fuel break

Create a cinder block wall around the perimeter of your yard and use grass and slate to break up the landscape.