Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Prevention

Beautiful – But Dangerous!

Homes nestled in the trees, brush and other vegetation present one of the greatest fire risks that we face – the “Wildland-Urban Interface”. The VFD has begun a program of community education, risk evaluation, and mitigation to help address the problem before disaster strikes.

Around Your Home and Property

Landscaping can serve as a fuel break by limiting flammable vegetation and materials surrounding the home where an ember could land and start a fire. Consider the entire “home ignition zone,” which extends up to 200 feet from the home. Your property does not have to be bare of vegetation to be protected.

Zone 1 – Up to 30 feet from the home.

This area should be well-irrigated and free from fuels that may ignite your home, such as dry vegetation, clutter and debris.

  • Plants in this area should be limited to carefully spaced plantings that are low-growing and free of resins, oils and waxes that burn easily. (Number 1)
  • Mow the lawn regularly. Prune all trees so the lowest limbs are at least 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Space flammable conifer trees 30 feet between crowns to reduce the risk of crown fire.
  • Within 5 feet of the home, use nonflammable landscaping materials, such as rock, pavers and perennials with high-moisture content.
  • Remove dead vegetation, such as leaves and pine needles, from gutters, under your deck and within 10 feet of your home.
  • Firewood stacks and propane tanks should not be located in this area. Keep them at least 30 feet from the home.
  • Water plants and trees regularly to ensure that they are healthy and green, especially during fire season.

Zone 2 – Between 30 and 100 feet from the home.

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. Most deciduous trees do not support high-intensity fires.
  • Give yourself added protection with “fuel breaks,” such as driveways, gravel walkways and lawns.
  • Prune trees so branches and leaves are at least 6 to 10 feet above the ground.

Zone 3 – Between 100 and 200 feet from the home.

This area should be thinned out as well, though less space is required than in Zone 2.

  • Remove heavy accumulation of woody debris.
  • Thin trees to remove smaller conifers.
  • Reduce the density of tall trees so canopies are not touching.
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