As we move out of winter and into the warmer months of the year, those across many parts of the United States will have to be on greater alert for wildfires. These months see fire risks rise for most of the western US, with the kind of wildlife present that can promote the spread of fire if not properly checked.
At Reliable Tree Care, we’re dedicated to every area of care for your trees and property, from insect and disease control to physical safety areas. Trees are vital property areas to understand when it comes to fire mitigation and staying safe during this season – here are some general themes to understand when it comes to wildfire risks and limiting them on your property.
Risks of Wildfire
Unfortunately, part of the reason wildfires are so common in this area of the country during the spring and summer is the amount of wildfire fuel that’s often present across properties. Fire can spread to a number of different materials, but it moves particularly quickly through elements like brush, grass, leaves, branches and other highly flammable materials.
In particular, dead or dry vegetation elements are a large risk. These can create what is known as a “fire ladder,” one where wildfire begins in dry vegetation areas and then spreads to elevated areas due to lack of a buffer area. When unchecked, these fires can spread and destroy entire properties and even ecosystems.
“Defensible Space Zone”
When it comes to protecting your trees and property from fire risks, the operative term to understand is “defensible space zone.” This is a term wildfire fighters commonly use to describe a recommended buffer area on your property, one between the property itself and any fire risk factors.
The goal is to create a space that will stop fire in its tracks if it gets going – vegetation reduction is a big part of this, but other factors like reducing flammable materials and factoring in wind directions can also play a role. In a case where a fire does happen, your defensible space zone should be one that helps limit the risks of the fire reaching your actual structures and burning down buildings.
One part of the defensible space zone is often defined by various local ordinances. These may cover a few specific areas:
- Endangered species: Local laws will generally require specific defensible space zone setups for any endangered species habitats.
- Green waste: In cases where green waste must be disposed of in wildlands, it should be done efficiently to limit fire spread risks.
- Wildland-urban interface: Any home within 400 feet of wildlands is considered a wildland-urban interface property. These properties are at higher wildfire risk, and while there generally aren’t specific laws requiring fire mitigation here, these services are highly recommended if you’re on such a property.
For more on protecting your trees and property from wildfires during the warm season, or to learn about any of our tree trimming, tree removal or other arborist services, speak to the staff at Reliable Tree Care today.