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Landscape Design for Fire Safety

Articles: Landscape Design for Fire Safety

A fire-safe landscape with dwarf coyote bush (Baccharis pilularis 'Twin Peaks') used as a fire-resistant ground cover; toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), at lower right, is relatively fire resistant; major trees have been kept away from the house. Author's photographs
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire. . .
Robert Frost, “Fire and Ice”

California—and much of the West—is designed to burn. All it takes is a spark from a downed power line or a power mower, a hot muffler, a carelessly tossed cigarette or match, a firecracker, or an untended campfire to ignite a fast moving grass fire that can erupt into an inferno.

In California’s mediterranean1-type climate, environmental characteristics combine to create a potential fire hazard for people who live in the urban-wildland interface on the edges of cities, in suburbs, and in communities that are rapidly expanding into foothills and mountains. The desire for views, for large lots to ensure privacy, and for woodland settings, in an environment in which fire is a natural and rec...


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