Tips for Fire Smart Landscaping
Protecting your home through fire season takes planning and physical work, but the effort’s worth it, given the safe zones these practices create, and the peace of mind we gain through preparedness. Managing the green space around commercial and residential buildings minimizes the risk of wildfire damage.
Defensible Space: Well-spaced trees and shrubs, not planting too close to your house and a clean, green back yard creates a fire-resistant zone to protect buildings. To sustain a fire, three elements are needed; heat or an ignition source, fuel and oxygen. Take any one of these elements away and the fire goes out or does not start. Planting fire resistant species such as the thick-barked Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir are part of a good defensive plan.
Tree Pruning and Crowning: Proper tree pruning removes dead or dying branches to encourage growth while protecting the bark and health of the tree. Dead branches are also dry fuel for fires. Removing low growing branches keeps ground fires from moving up into tree tops where the flames move swiftly through the canopy. Crown fires are extreme risk events because they are higher off the ground where wind ignites the flames and they are harder to reach by land based firefighting crews. Remembering defensible space when planting and having your trees crowned and thinned by a professional arborist is extremely important in reducing fire risk on your property.
- Prune Dead or Unhealthy Branches
- Increase Spacing Between Tree Crowns
- Remove Low Growing Branches
- Hire A Professional for Upper Crown Reduction or Spiral Thinning for Large Trees
Remove Dry Underbrush. Southwest British Columbia, and in particular, the Thompson-Okanagan region dries out quickly in summer, given our desert heat and soil. These sandy, gravel deposits are great for viticulture, but don’t hold the moisture needed for natural green zones that suppress fires [foliage moisture content]. Remove dry underbrush from your property, including sagebrush and dry grass that can ignite from a spark or lightning. The key is reducing fuel for wildfires.
Check local websites for current fire bans and restrictions. Municipal bylaws differ throughout Southwest BC, but staying informed on current campfire bans or restrictions helps all of us prevent wildfires. BC’s provincial government site shares information throughout the year, including a map of current wildfire activity, open burning prohibitions and evacuation alerts.
The trees on your property may not be in the Guinness World Records, but we know they’re famous to you. Regular tree pruning, soil testing and root fertilization are just part of our plan for keeping your trees healthy and we invite you to call us for a consultation.
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