Fire-Safe Dos and Don’ts
- Limb up trees 10 feet or more above the ground within the first 100 feet of the home.
- Open up and exaggerate spaces between the natural landscape and cultivated plantings.
- Remove old, dried-out, or drought-stressed specimens in favor of healthy, strong plants and clear dead material from mature trees and shrubs.
- Control invasive weeds by keeping soil covered with mulch, gravel, groundcovers, bulbs, and wildflowers.
- Keep areas closest to the house free of weeds, litter, and woodpiles and keep these areas mulched with gravel or other nonflammable materials.
- Irrigate plants close to structures within the first 30 feet of the home—the so-called Lean, Clean, and Green Zone—to keep foliage moisture levels high in summer and fall.
- Reinvigorate shrubs and perennials with regular pruning and remove old plants with dense masses of dry growth.
- Choose built-in hardscape features like seat walls and low benches in place of flammable wood or plastic patio furniture.
- Remove low-growing herbs and leaf duff to expose bare soil that encourages invasive weed growth.
- Clear-cut areas down to bare soil, which promotes erosion and weed growth.
- Replace native vegetation with highly flammable non-native plants such as juniper, eucalyptus, pine, acacia, and tall ornamental grasses.
Firescaping by Douglas Kent, Wilderness Press 2005
Introduction to Fire in California, David Carle, University of California Press, 2008
Fire, Chaparral, and Survival in Southern California by Richard Halsey 2nd edition, Sunbelt Books, 2008
The New Sunset Western Garden Book, Edited by Kathen Brenzel 9th edition, Time Home Entertainment Inc., 2012
California’s Fading Wildflowers by Richard Minnich, University of California Press, 2008
Plant-Driven Design, by Scot Ogden and Lauren Springer Ogden, Timber Press, 2009
California Native Plants for the Garden by C. Bornstein, D. Fross, and B. O’Brien, Cachuma Press, 2005
Annie’s Annuals, Richmond, CA. www.anniesannuals.com
High Country Gardens, Santa Fe, NM. www.highcountrygardens.com
ForestFarm nursery, Williams, OR. www.forestfarm.com