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Coordinator’s Column

Grace Florjancic
Latest posts by Grace Florjancic (see all)







Hello Gardeners,

We are getting into that hot time of year when fires pop up. Many of us have heard about ways we can manage large areas of land to reduce the chances that fire could spread. What can homeowners with smaller yards do?  Here are just a few of the many tips to help.

Keep your driveway accessible to first responders.

Can a fire truck fit in your driveway? Check to see if you need to prune any low hanging, far reaching branches so fire teams will be able to park their trucks in your driveway.

Hardscape the immediate space around your home.

Create a space within the first 5 feet of your home where there are no flammable materials. This can mean mulching with gravel closer to your house instead of wood chips or removing shrubs directly against your house.

Remove ladder fuels in your yard.

Ladder fuels are flammable structures (plants included) that allow the flames to spread up. Removing the lower branches of large trees up to 6 feet, or limbing up, can reduce the chance of the fire reaching the tree’s canopy. Removing tall plants under trees and replacing them with shorter plants can also reduce the chances of fire spreading to a tree’s canopy.

Most importantly, talk to your neighbors.

When houses are close together, fire resistance is a team effort. Encouragement and education of our neighbors can help create more resistant neighborhoods.

There are many more ways to increase your home’s resistance to fire. Each neighborhood and part of the county is different. It can be overwhelming to try to change your entire yard so pick a few tasks and work towards becoming more fire resistant. Some questions to consider are:

  • How close is the nearest fire station? How long will it take them to arrive?
  • What type of land surrounds my home? Urban? Industrial? Farm? What are the potential fire risks of these lands?
  • Which plants am I OK with moving or replacing?

For more information on reducing the fire risk of your home check out these sources.

Fire resistant plants for home landscape:

Prioritizing your home hardening approach:

Oregon Defensible Space:

How to harden homes against wildfire: