- Author: Melissa G. Womack
It's California Wildfire Preparedness Week 2023 (May 1-8), it serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of preparing home landscapes to help mitigate wildfire risks. With the increasing threat of wildfires in California, adopting preventive measures and adapting landscapes can significantly reduce the vulnerability of homes and communities.
UC ANR fire and natural resource advisers developed strategies for homeowners to make adjustments for a home that is more resilient to wildfire.
Design and implement a defensible space:
- Create fuel breaks surrounding your house and within your garden.
- Create space vertically and horizontally via plant placement and pruning.
- Use hardscape and noncombustible materials around structures and to separate individual plants and groups of plants.
- Use the right plants in the right places with fire, climate, and irrigation needs in mind.
- Create plant islands that have similar sun, nutrient, and water needs.
- Replace combustible gates that attach to the house with materials that will not burn.
Maintain your landscape:
- Keep your garden free from dry and dead wood, dry grasses, and leaf litter, especially near any structures.
- Prune plants to provide horizontal and vertical space throughout your garden and surrounding structures.
- Eliminate fire ladders. A grass fire can move up into shrubs and then into trees.
- Hydrate plants with a water-wise irrigation system. Use non-combustible mulches near the house.
Fire-resistant landscaping is a critical aspect of wildfire preparedness. The UC Master Gardener Program plays a vital role in educating and assisting Californians in creating fire-resistant landscapes and implementing best practices to protect their properties. UC Master Gardener volunteers help guide homeowners in designing and maintaining their landscapes to reduce fire risks. Planting fire-resistant ground covers, shrubs, and trees, as well as maintaining proper spacing between plants and removing dead vegetation can significantly minimize the spread of wildfires.
California Wildfire Preparedness Week 2023 serves as a reminder of the importance of creating fire-resistant home landscapes to protect our communities from wildfires. UC Master Gardener volunteers help provide education and assistance to homeowners through community workshops, webinars, and other outreach events. For information on an event or workshop near you connect with your local UC Master Gardener Program by visiting: https://mg.ucanr.edu/FindUs/.
By working together, we can foster wildfire preparedness and resilience, ensuring the safety of our communities in the face of increasing wildfire threats!