Wildland Fire Safety

Year Round Fire Season
The fire season is now a year-round reality in many areas, requiring firefighters and residents to be on heightened alert for the threat of wildfire throughout the year. Your fire department takes every precaution to help protect you and your property from wildfire. However, the reality is that in a major wildfire, there will simply not be enough fire engines or firefighters to defend every home, and that is why it is imperative that you help us by preparing your home, property, and your ability to evacuate if needed. Through advance planning and preparation, we can all be ready for wildfire.

Rural Development
Citizens are moving farther into “natural” areas to take advantage of the privacy, natural beauty, recreational opportunities and country living. Developers are building neighborhoods to accommodate the influx, but as a result, fire departments are fighting fires along the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). WUI is defined as areas where homes are built near or among lands prone to wildland fire. To enable firefighters the ability to better protect your home in the WUI setting, homeowners should provide a defensible space or buffer zone.

Zones
Defensible space is the area between a house and an oncoming wildfire where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the wildfire threat and to provide an opportunity for firefighters to effectively defend the house. To create this defensible space, 3 defensible zones in your landscaping should be developed in the following manners:
  • Zone 1: 30 - 100 feet, moist and trim
  • Zone 2: 20 - 50 feet, low and sparse
  • Zone 3: 50 - 100 feet, high and clean
The home on the left in the diagram has fire wise landscaping with 3 buffer zones of defensible space between the house and ignitable fuels. The home on the right has not created defensible space and is surrounded by ladder fuels, making it very vulnerable to wildfire.

It is important to have a wildfire action plan (PDF).
A diagram drawing of 1 homes in the woods showing the different fire hazard zones
Tips
  • Use non-combustible roofing (asphalt, metal or clay tiles) and siding (log, masonite, stucco or brick) on your home.
  • Accessibility to your home is critical. The width, overhead clearance, grade and surface of your drive can make a difference in emergency response.
  • Keep plant material lean, green and clean at least 30 feet from home. Trim shrubs and trees regularly and remove any dead plant material.
  • Remove “ladder fuels” that help fire leap from grass to tree tops.
  • Avoid planting evergreens or other flammable shrubs within 5 feet of structures. These plants burn intensely and can be receptacles for firebrands.
  • Remove debris from under decks and screen in posts or lattice with 1/4 inch screen.
  • Stack woodpiles at least 30 feet from your home and clear 10 feet on all sides. Place propane or other flammable gas tanks 30 feet from any structure.
Read, Set, Go
The Ready, Set, Go! Program helps fire departments deliver the preparedness and situational awareness messaging to address these threats. For further information, visit Ready, Set, Go online.