Following up from last week, we’ll jump into what you need to know for keeping your property more fire safe, specifically in Zone 1.

Zone 1: 30 feet of “Lean, Clean & Green” in all directions of your structure(s). This first perimeter of defense includes keeping tree branches 10 feet from any structure, removing dry needles and leaves from your roof, rain gutters or yard, and clearing out all dead weeds, grass, or plants. Wood piles should also be relocated out of Zone 1 and into Zone 2.

Here are some ideas that you can use to harden your property in Zone 1:

  • Remove all dead plants, dry brush and weeds.
  • If you have natural land within Zone 1, consider re-landscaping that area with fire-smart planting to reduce the amount of weeds and brush.
  • Remove leaves, pine needles or other debris that pile up in your yard. If you have pine trees or another conifer, it’s important to rake the needles up on a bi-weekly basis to ensure embers aren’t able to land and catch fire on the ground.
  • Remove any leaves or debris that may have accumulated in drainage swales, gutters or other open holes.
  • Prune tree branches to provide a minimum of 10’ of clearance from all structures. This is one that I see most mountain homes in violation of and it’s the easiest way for a fire to spread to your structure.
  • Skirt trees up the trunk so that a ground fire cannot easily move into the canopy. This is called the ladder effect and can be easily prevented.
  • Relocate wood piles or wood storage into Zone 2, at least 30’ from your home
  • Remove flammable shrubs that are near your home and windows.
  • Remove vegetation that can catch fire around your deck or wood stairs as these are well-known areas that can catch your home on fire
  • Plant your trees far enough apart to achieve separation of canopies. Use a similar method of 10’ between trees whenever possible to reduce fire from spreading canopy to canopy.
  • Utilize rock mulch whenever possible.

The basic idea for Zone 1 is to create a clean and well-maintained area that is hard for embers to land and catch fire. Every property is going to be a little different, so be sure to inspect your area for any specific applications of the fire safe methodology.

Check back for the final segment of Preparing for Wildfire Season which will cover Zone 2 of defensible space and how you can adhere to these guidelines to keep your property and home more fire-safe.