Wildfires pose a significant threat to homes and properties across the United States. These natural disasters can happen without warning, and, if not managed properly, lead to devastating consequences for homeowners and their families.
In fact, clearing your property is one of the most important things you can do to protect your home and loved ones. Unfortunately, many homeowners don’t know how important it is to clear their land or what can happen during a wildfire when they don't.
That's why in this blog post, we'll be discussing the importance of clearing your property and what you can do to get your land and home ready for a possible wildfire. By taking these proactive steps, you can minimize the risk of your home being burned and keep yourself and your loved ones safe. So, let's dive in and find out more about this.
Protecting Your Property: Mitigating Wildfire Risk
Wildfires are incredibly destructive and cause massive damage to homes, forests, and wildlife habitats. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were almost 70,000 wildfires in the United States in 2022. These fires burned over 4.9 million acres of land. These fires also caused significant property damage and led to the loss of lives.
Not only that, but wildfire destruction has risen over the years. The average number of acres burned per wildfire was only 73 acres in 1983 but has risen to 172 acres burned by each wildfire in 2020.
While the effects of wildfires have long-term consequences for the environment, the worst effect is losing one’s home. Many homeowners are unaware their home is in a “wildland urban interface.” A wildland urban interface is a zone of transition where people live in a wilderness area that is otherwise undeveloped.
Regardless of whether you live in a wildland-urban interface or not, it is essential to ensure that your property and home have proper land clearance to decrease the risk of loss. Taking proactive measures such as clearing dead or dry vegetation, creating fire breaks, and maintaining an adequate water supply for firefighting reduces the risk of losing your home to a fire.
Creating Defensible Space: The Key to Minimizing Wildfire Damage
Defensible space is a method used to minimize the risk of wildfires. Homes not only catch fire directly, but they also catch fire from flying embers and radiant heat. The area that is created by defensible space slows or stops the fire, as well as allowing the time and space needed for firefighters to stop the fire from reaching your home. There are three zones of defensible space that should be kept around a home.
Zone 1, the Immediate Zone, is the area 0-5 feet of the home.
The requirements for Zone 1 include:
• Clear the area of flammable and combustible materials
• Use fire-resistant materials for roofing, siding, and patios
• Clear debris from outside vents
• Keep roofs and gutters clean
• Use crushed rocks instead of mulch around the house
Zone 2, the Intermediate Zone, extends 5-30 feet from the home.
The requirements for Zone 2 include:
• Create vegetation that acts as barriers to slow a fire
• Trees should be trimmed and kept at least 10 feet away from other trees and buildings
• Remove tree branches that are less than 6 feet high
• Limit trees and shrubs to small clusters
• Mow lawns and native grasses to no more than 4 inches
Zone 3 addresses the area 30 feet to 200 feet surrounding the home.
The requirements for Zone 3 include:
• Remove heavy leaf litter, dead trees, and shrubs
• Thin out trees by removing small trees growing between large trees
• Remove vegetation near outbuildings
• Keep trees 30-60 feet from the home with at least 12 feet of space between canopies
• Keep trees located 60-100 feet away with at least 6 feet of space between canopies
By establishing defensible space, homeowners reduce the risk of property damage, the loss of home, and the loss of life during a wildfire.
Property Clearance and Wildfire Prevention: Professional Services
When it comes to clearing your property for wildfire prevention, hiring a professional service is the best option. Professionals have the know-how and experience needed to create effective firebreaks and establish defensible space around your property. They understand the local regulations and environmental factors that need to be considered when creating defensible space. Professionals also have the right equipment to clear your property safely and effectively.
Tips for selecting the right service for clearing your property for fire prevention:
Find a certified landscaper or tree care service with experience in wildfire prevention
Verify the service you want to use for property clearance is licensed and insured
Check for references and reviews from past customers
Ask for a detailed plan for trees and other property hazards that pose a risk
Ensure the service has procedures for excavation, tree trimming, and removing trees and debris
Request a written estimate for the services that will be done
Check with your city or county for recommendations on reputable tree care or landscaping services
Make sure the company has all of the equipment needed, like excavators and bucket trucks
The service company should understand all local fire codes and defensible space requirements
Homeowners will work with a qualified and experienced service to prepare their property for fire prevention by taking these steps. This ensures that there is a lower risk of damage and loss in case of a wildfire.
Sustaining Fire Prevention: Maintaining Property Clearance and Defensible Space
Once property clearance and defensible space have been established, it’s easy to keep your property maintained. Regular maintenance ensures the defensible space remains clear and trees and vegetation stay under control to keep your wildfire risk damage low.
Maintaining Fire Prevention: Essential Tips for Your Property
Schedule annual inspections with a professional service to assess the condition of trees and vegetation
Keep vegetation trimmed and pruned to prevent it from becoming overgrown
Remove dead or dying vegetation promptly
Ensure that hoses and sprinklers are in working order
Regularly clean gutters and roofs to remove debris that can ignite during a wildfire
Create a fire-resistant landscape by using fire-resistant plants and non-combustible mulch
Stay informed about local wildfire risks and regulations
By clearing your property and creating a defensible space, keeping up with regular maintenance, and working with a professional, homeowners greatly reduce the risk of damage and loss in the event of a wildfire.
If you need assistance with clearing your property for fire prevention, consider reaching out to Basin Family Tree Care Services.
Our qualified team prepares your property for potential wildfire threats, ensuring that you and your property remain safe. Don't wait until it's too late - call Basin Family Tree Care Services today to protect your property against fires.