Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

Fire season is year-round in Southern California - Maintaining a firescaped landscape

Every plant, every landscape, and every house is flammable. Their degree of flammability is directly related to the maintenance they receive.

Poor plant selection or architectural design can increase the fire risk, but more often than not, lack of outdoor maintenance leads fire to a house.

Pruning, removing and watering plants are the biggest contributors to a garden’s health and fire safety. These maintenance chores affect a landscape’s flammability in these distinct ways:

Ignitability – The combination of conditions that make the landscape burst into flames is influenced by fuel load, type of vegetation, plants’ moisture content, topography and how the plantings are spaced in and around the structure.

Combustibility – The amount of heat a fire produces is related to the type of vegetation. The wrong plants in the wrong places can contribute greatly to ignition and spread by jumping from plant to plant. Pines, junipers, eucalyptus and woody plants are real fire hazards and should be removed or maintained properly.

Sustainability – The ability of a landscape to keep a fire going is changed by altering its structure, density and moisture content. The more fuel in a landscape, the longer it can feed a fire.

A fire-resistant landscape must be maintained over a lifetime. Any plant will burn under the right conditions.

The following are some key factors in maintaining a fire-protected property:

• Maintain a path for exit. A safe exit is essential in any emergency, not just fires.

• Maintain Zone 1 around the house. Clean, lean and green again and again.

• Clean the road leading to the house. Driveways, hardscapes and paths are firebreaks. Prune trees to allow emergency vehicles easy access.

• Clearly have your address visible at the street level.

• Remove all items that are considered flammable and can aid in spreading the fire.

• Be prepared by developing a “Go Box” with emergency items to sustain you and your family in the event of an evacuation.

• Get involved in your community CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program and be more educated and prepared.

To learn many more practical ways to keep your home and property fire-safe, join us for a free ‘Be Firewise’ workshop at 10 a.m. on November 21 at Southwest Boulder at 5002 Second Street in Rainbow.

RSVP to seminar@ or call (800) 540-1147.

Landscape designer/certified arborist Roger Boddaert can be reached at (760) 728-4207.


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