Fire Resistant Plants & Home Preparation

 Protect Your Home with Fuel Modification or Defensible Space 

Homes located next to vegetation must have either defensible space or a fuel modification program. Defensible space is a clear or sparsely planted area around your home. Fuel modification zones, required for most homes built after 1980, are buffer areas between homes and flammable vegetation. By maintaining these fuel breaks, you are protecting your home and you are providing firefighters with a place to take a stand.

Fuel Modification

Fire-resistant plants can act as a firebreak and protect your home. The following are just a few fire resistant plants and shrubs:

   Aloe Vera      Bird of Paradise      Bouganvillea        Ice Plant
   Rosemary     Sage                       Star Jasmine        Wild Strawberry

Fire Resistive Plant Lists

   Common Name    Botanical Name    Plant Form    Undesirable Plants

Clear a Defensible Space            

  • Clear flammable vegetation 30 feet from any structure.
  • Thin vegetation within 70 feet; replace with fire resistant plants.
  • Clear dead leaves and needles from roof and rain gutters.
  • Space trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart.
  • Relocate woodpiles or other combustible materials at least 30 feet from any structure.
  • Maintain a clear space of 10 feet around propane gas tanks.                     Defensible Space                  Checklist for House

Harden the House

  Horizontal Clearance
  • Install a ¼ inch mesh screen over attic vents.
  • Select non-combustible roof and enclose all eaves.        
  • Make sure your address number is visible from the street. Consider installing fire sprinklers and dual pane glass.
  • Contact your local building official for assistance.    

Get Prepared Before the Fire

Make a Kit
  • Keep old shoes and flashlights handy for night evacuation.
  • Keep the six “P’s” ready, in case immediate evacuation is required:

    • People and pet   
    • Papers, phone numbers, and important documents
    • Prescriptions, pills, and eyeglasses
    • Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
    • Personal computer (information on hard drives)
    • “Plastic” (credit cards and cash)
                 Make a Plan
  • Keep your car’s fuel tank full and park facing out.
  • Have a family emergency plan and reunification plan. 

When Wildfire Approaches

  • Stay informed through television, radio, and local agencies.
  • Evacuate if directed by authorities, or if fire is headed toward your home and use pre-identified road "escape routes."
  • Close heavy draperies; but remove lightweight curtains.
  • Leave lights on in the house to mark your home for emergency responders.
  • Turn off propane gas supply at the tank.
  • Watch for downed power lines – treat all wires as energized and lethal.
  • If you can see the fire is close, it may be too late to travel. Seek shelter in your house or in a wide, clear, safe area.

What if my kids are in school?

  • Firefighters will prioritize protecting and evacuating school sites. 
  • Know your school’s evacuation plans and where they will take your student. 
  • Develop an emergency plan for baby sitters and other care providers.

What should I do with my animals?

  • Take small animals with you if you can. 
  • Take large stock animals to alternate stables.
  • Do not release large stock animals to run wild.

What If I Choose to Ignore Evacuation Orders?

  • Be prepared for intense heat and black, blinding, choking smoke.
  • Keep hoses, portable pumps, rakes, and shovels available.
  • Fill tubs, pools and ponds with water, and attach hoses to outside taps or pump.    
  • Place a metal ladder outside for roof access.
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, heavy boots, gloves, goggles, and a bandana.
  • Inside your house is the safest place to seek temporary refuge as the fire front passes.
  • If the house or propane tank becomes involved in fire, seek secondary shelter.
  • Once the fire front passes, be ready to putout fires on your roof or in your attic.

The Ready, Set, Go! program provides information on preparing for a wildfire and tips for creating a more fire-safe environment for you and your family.

~ Safety, Service, Professionalism ~

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