May 8, 2012 -- Portland Fire & Rescue Battalion Chief Leo Krick encourages citizens to prepare for wildland fire by focusing on your home ignition zone.
“In the first 30 feet around your home, create a fire-resistant zone to help reduce the spread of wildfire and protect your property,” Chief Krick notes. “Recycle your needles, leaves, small branches and brush and keep your property free from fire.”
The most important action a homeowner can take is to create a wildfire resistant landscape through proper plant placement, spacing, and ongoing plant maintenance.
Courtesy of Project Wildfire, below are 10 things you can do to create a fire-resistant zone to protect your home and reduce your risk of losing your home to wildland fire:
- Define your defensible space. Create a 30 foot zone of fire-resistant space around your home. (as noted)
- Remove flammable vegetation. Junipers are highly flammable. Replace them with fire resistant shrubs like Vine Maple and Lilac.
- Reduce shrubs under nearby trees. Prune low hanging branches from ground to eliminate "ladder fuels".
- Keep grass and weeds cut low. Trim grass and weeds to less that 4" to prevent rapid fire spread and high flames.
- Clear wood piles and building materials away from your home. Keep burnable materials at least 30 feet from your home and outbuildings. Clear brush at least 10 feet away from wood and debris piles.
- Keep your yard and roof clean. Clear pine needles, leaves and debris from yard, roof and gutters to eliminate ignition sources. Remove overhanging and dead limbs.
- Keep address signs visible for easy access. Post easy-to-read address signs and keep vegetation trimmed so they remain visible for quick access by firefighters.
- Choose fire resistant roofing materials. Like composition shingles, metal or tile roofing and install spark arrestors on chimneys to prevent sparks from igniting the roof or surrounding vegetation.
- Use alternatives to burning debris. Instead of burning, recycle, chip or compost yard waste.
- Be prepared to respond to wildfire. Know evacuation routes from your neighborhood and practice with your family and know how to prepare your home before leaving.