Forest fires are a fact of life in the Inland Northwest. Homes located on heavily treed land are at high risk. Following an especially dry winter, like the one we’ve had this year, puts all of us at higher than normal risk. It is vitally important to take action to reduce the risk of damage to your home and property from fires! You can be proactive by hiring Budget Arbor & Logging to evaluate your property and develop a defensible space plan. As trees and forests are continually growing, defensible space requires annual maintenance.
Defensible space is the area between your home or property and an oncoming wildfire where the fuels and vegetation have been modified to reduce the wildfire threat and to provide firefighters the opportunity to effectively defend any dwellings on the property. Many times without this critical space, firefighters are forced to move on to other properties that are defensible. A defensible space in an urban setting can be a property owner’s properly maintained backyard.
What can YOU do to create a defensible space around your property or
in your own backyard?
- Increase the moisture content of your vegetation
- Decrease the amount of dry, flammable vegetation
- Thin your trees and shrubs. Trees that are overcrowded are stressed, unhealthy, and more vulnerable to crown fires.
- Shorten the heights of plants that serve as wildfire fuels
- Remove ladder fuels – A ground fire can climb up into the forest canopy like a ladder by igniting low limbs on trees and taller shrubs. When trees are close enough with touching canopies, this can result in a crown fire which is fast moving, creates its own wind, and sends burning embers long distances causing the fire to spread quickly and uncontrollably.
- Prune the lower branches of your trees. This reduces fire hazard while improving aesthetics and timber quality. Increasing the distance between the ground and the lowest branches of a tree reduces the likelihood that a fire will move from the ground into the crown of a tree.
- Dispose of slash. Slash is created from pruning and thinning and can be disposed of by burning in piles or chipping. Many landfills offer designated days when yard debris can be disposed of for little or no cost. If you choose to burn, contact the Department of Ecology or Spokane Clean Air in Spokane County regarding permit requirements and “burn ban” restrictions.
Within 30 feet of your dwellings:
- Remove all dead trees
- Remove all dry, flammable vegetation
- Remove all dead or fallen branches, bark chunks, firewood and scrap lumber
- Keep trees trimmed at least 10 feet from your chimney and trim all dead limbs hanging over your home or garage
- Remove all flammable materials from underneath decks, stairs, and other overhangs
- Keep roofs and gutters free of pine needles
- Clean up and remove fallen pine needles prior to fire season
- Keep weeds and dead grass cut to two inches or shorter
- Keep all dry, flammable vegetation removed within 10 feet of propane tanks
- Make sure that house numbers are visible from the road day and night
Within 100 feet of your dwellings:
- Limb all trees 6 feet from the ground
- Thin and remove excessively dense trees to break up continuous vegetation
When you contact Eagle Logging for fire prevention work, we will schedule a site visit to evaluate the potential threat of wildfire to your home and/or property and provide an estimate for creating an appropriate defensible space. Call us at 509-226-1329 to schedule your FREE estimate.
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