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How to become fire adapted

Take Action

Complete one project after you have met with residents. It will provide residents with a feeling of accomplishment and encourage them to complete project work on their own properties.

Show how easy and fun it is to get started. You can encourage everyone to work on their own property on the same day. Hosting a community clean-up day and organizing for vegetative material to be picked up at the end of the driveway throughout the community after a workday can encourage future participation.

Many projects that make a difference can be completed in one day.

Create healthy landscapes

Creating healthy landscapes and maintaining healthy vegetation and ecosystems is an important part of making your community resilient to wildfire events.

Defensible space fire zones

Areas of landscaping to consider include the 100-foot area around the home, areas of greenspace within, and wildlands surrounding a community. Landscaping around homes and other buildings and infrastructure should be especially well maintained. Research shows that maintaining this area properly can improve home survival.

Defensible space fire zones illustration

Zone 1 0-5 feet

Includes the structure, deck/patio/balcony or other outside entertaining space as well as fencing that is attached to the home and the immediate landscaping from the home to 5 feet away.

  • Remove all combustible materials like wood mulches, dead or dry vegetation, and leaves and pine needles from roofs and gutters.
  • Trim tree branches that hang over the roof, eaves and chimney.

Zone 2 5-30 feet

Includes the area from 5 feet to 30 feet away from the home, including the property and all outbuildings.

  • Keep this area lean, clean and green by pruning and removing dead and dying branches from well-spaced bushes and trees.
  • Make sure to keep this area well maintained and watered during a hot, dry summer.
  • Stack wood piles on bare or gravel areas or in an enclosed shed at least 30 feet from the home.

Zone 3 30-100 feet

This is the area farthest from the home, extending from Zone 2 to your property’s boundary from 30 to 100 feet. Reduce fuels by thinning and spacing vegetation vertically and limbing up trees horizontally to interrupt fire’s path and keep flames small and on the ground.

Consult with local foresters

Work with local foresters to manage large green and open space areas within and surrounding the community to develop plans to maintain healthy ecosystems that will be more resilient in the event of a wildfire. Tools such as prescribed fire and mechanical means such as mastication can improve forest health under the expert professional help of qualified foresters.

Why is defensible space so important?

Find out why one side of this home ignited and burned when exposed to embers from a wildfire simulation at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety Research Center.