- Author: Melissa G. Womack
Despite recent rain in California, the state has experienced record dry conditions with the potential to result in an explosive wildfire season. California has declared May 4 -10, 2014 “Wildfire Awareness Week,” urging residents to prepare homes for potential wildfires.
"Creating and maintaining Defensible Space is critical for the protection of homes," said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. "It has never been more critical to strengthen our fire prevention efforts in light of the elevated fire conditions we have been experiencing in California. We have increased our inspection staffing and now we need the public to make sure they, too, are prepared for the increased fire risk due to drought."
Homeowners can easily create a defensible space to help protect their home and improve the homes chance of surviving a wildfire through easy maintenance practices. A minimum defensible space of 100 feet around your home is required by California law (Public Resources Code 4291). Check with your local fire department for specific defensible space requirements in your area.
Creating a 100 foot defensible space around the home is oftentimes the easiest and most effective first line of defense in protecting a home against wildfires. According to Landscaping Tips to Help Defend your Home from Wildfire, the goal of the law is to protect your home while providing a safe area for firefighters.
Create a Lean, Clean and Green Zone
A buffer between structures and trees, grass and shrubs and helps slow or stop the spread of wildfire. Break the property surrounding your home down into two zones:
Zone one extends 30 feet* out from buildings, structures, decks, etc.
- Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
- Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Relocate wood piles into Zone 2.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.
* San Diego County requires 50 feet of clearance in zone one. Check with your local fire department for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinances.
- Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
- Create horizontal spacing between shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
- Create vertical spacing between grass, shrubs and trees. (See diagram)
- Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.
Prepared homeowners are not only protecting their property but also providing a safe environment for firefighters responding to the call of duty. Visit California Garden Web or ReadyforWildfire.org for more information about preparing your home for wildfire season and fire-resistant landscaping.
- Author: Aubrey Bray
This in-depth publication provides research based information for individuals interested in adopting sustainable landscape practices. These practices include: plant selection, water conservation, pest management and providing wildlife habitats.
The free publication contains helpful figures, photos, and references for individuals looking for detailed and more complex information. “Sustainable Landscaping in California” can be a powerful tool for new volunteers working at a helpdesk or for developing workshop content or use in a presentation.
The sustainable landscaping publication is available as a free downloadable Adobe PDF from the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Catalog. Don't forget to check-out some of the other high-quality gardening publications available. Ask a local UCCE office about publication discounts for volunteers!
One of the most profound ways in which UC touches people's lives is through the work of Cooperative Extension.– Janet Napolitano, President, University of California
UC Cooperative Extension launches its first crowd-sourced science project on May 8 to commemorate the organization's 100thanniversary! On May 8, 1914, the president signed an act of Congress to channel scientific advances from university research to everyday people working and living in the United States. On May 8, 2014, California residents will collaborate on a dataset that further connects public higher education with community.
“UC Cooperative Extension is all about science and service,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, which administers Cooperative Extension in California. “To celebrate the anniversary of Cooperative Extension, we are asking Californians to help us collect scientific data so that all of us will better understand our natural, agricultural and urban communities.”
How to participate
Everyone in California is invited to take part. To participate, go to http://beascientist.ucanr.edu and record your observations on three questions:
- How many pollinators do you see?
- How do you conserve water?
- Where is food grown in your community?
Many UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Programs are holding special events on May 8 where the public may join in the celebration of science and service. Participants can easily access and record observations using a mobile device with Internet connection.
Spread the word, #BeaScientist
Help spread the word. Share images, events and encourage friends and family to participate on May 8th using social media. Include the hashtag #BeaScientist in your posts!/span>
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
- Contributor: Marcia Rosenberg
Do you have a delicious local delicacy or a favorite gardening tool?
Are you an artist with a unique masterpiece?
Do you have a vacation home a fellow Master Gardener could enjoy?
Are you a crafter that loves to build birdhouses or design fairy gardens?
Get creative, have fun and help support a program you love!
Please consider donating items for the 2014 UC Master Gardener Conference silent auction. The silent auction is a unique opportunity to raise funds that help offset costs and provide scholarships for attendees at future UC Master Gardener conferences.
“Growing Together” is the theme of this year's conference and can be incorporated into a variety of exciting donation ideas, including a county basket.
Donating silent auction items is easy
Work with your coordinator and designate a member in your county responsible for collecting donation(s), forward contact information to Marcia Rosenberg, silent auction coordinator. Once you have determined the items your county will donate (recommended minimum value $50 ) - download the Silent Auction application and return no later than August 1, 2014.
Attn: Marcia Rosenberg
RE: Silent Auction
Visit the conference website to learn more details about the silent auction and how to package silent auction donation baskets. We are grateful to have generous and dedicated University of California, Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Master Gardeners and are looking forward to hearing from you!
- Author: Melissa G. Womack
Carpooling is recommended for Master Gardeners staying in or near Oakhurst, Calif. If a significant amount of Master Gardener attendees elect to stay at The Pines Resort located in Bass Lake, Calif. a morning and evening bus will pick up and drop off at the conference.
The statewide office is currently working with the Tenaya Lodge to verify all room reservations under the conference code are valid and duplicates are not present. Continue to check-in with the Tenaya to see if additional rooms are available as the conference date is closer.