Wildfire Resistant Landscape Ideas SWCAA News

Wednesday, July 08, 2015 - Selecting fire-resistant plants for your home landscape may reduce your risk from wildfire.

  • Use low-growing herbaceous (non-woody) plants and keep them green during the fire season through irrigation if necessary. Herbaceous plants include lawn, clover, a variety of groundcovers, bedding plants, bulbs, perennial flowers and conservation grasses.
  • Mulches, rock, and non-combustible hard surfaces (concrete sidewalks, brick patios, and asphalt driveways) are encouraged.
  • Deciduous ornamental trees and shrubs are acceptable if they are kept green and free of dead plant material. Overgrown vegetation needs to be removed and individual plants or groups of plants should be arranged in a manner in which adjacent wildland vegetation cannot convey a fire through them to the structure. Shorter deciduous shrubs are preferred.
  • Minimize the use of ornamental coniferous shrubs and trees.
  • Where permitted, most wildland shrubs and trees should be removed from the area surrounding your home. Replace with more desirable, fire resistive alternatives. Individual specimens or small groups of wildland shrubs and trees can be retained so long as they are kept healthy, free of dead wood, and pruned to reduce the amount of fuel and height.
  • In an area where substantial removal of wildland vegetation is not allowed, wildland vegetation should conform to the recommended separation distances, be kept free of dead plant material, pruned to remove and reduce fuel load, and be arranged so it cannot readily convey a fire from the wildlands to the house. Please become familiar with local requirements before removal of wildland vegetation.
  • Tree limbs within 15 feet of a chimney, encroaching on powerlines, or touching the house should be removed.
All plants will burn under extreme fire weather conditions such as drought. However, plants burn at different intensities and rates of consumption. Fire-resistant plants burn at a relatively low intensity, slow rates of spread and with short flame lengths.

Ideas Courtesy of Washington State Department of Natural Resources