It’s mid-summer already, and while we love all the lush greenery we have in communities, neighborhoods, and open spaces, it can also become a hazard if fire erupts when our landscapes begin to dry out.
Take an active role in your home’s preparedness in the event of a regional or community wildfire. As each home is unique in location, water, and the growth of vegetation, this is a good opportunity for us to take an in-depth look at issues that may have missed your radar in the past.
The are all kinds of resources available through state agencies and the National Firewise program. Even if you feel in the past you’ve done enough to prepare your home, plants grow and landscapes change. Revisiting information is always a good thing when it comes to your safety!
From within the Firewise program there are opportunities for homeowners and community assessments that offer guidance in home survival rather than destruction.
Here are four primary topics from the Firewise program to be aware of.
How to prepare your home for a wildfire
Suggestions for us as homeowners and community members.
Lastly, be aware of the different home ignition zones (see diagram below) you can create to protect your landscape and your home.
The link between being firewise and waterwise is a conversation that all of us should be having these days. Yes, we love our lush green yards & landscape – and green means less danger of fire. But we’re also using a lot of water to stay lush and green – which challenges the idea of water conservation. A catch-22 if ever there was one!
Many individuals and communities are now incorporating Xeriscaping; simply put, xeriscaping is selecting plants that can survive with the least amount of water possible for the region in which you live. It’s creating a landscape that saves water, protects soil, and provides a healthy environment for the lifestyle you have chosen. And done right, it’s also another way of protecting property from fire!
Here’s a great website & resource to learn more about Xeriscaping.
Plant selection is one of the key elements along with reducing the use of water. Eliminating those thirsty plants is a consideration, as is grading the soil to consistently manage every bit of water possible to allow plants to flourish. An irrigation system customized to your plant selection is ideal and supports not only the root systems, but the amount of water that is effective for the landscape’s health. Another alternative is to capture rainwater with systems like a rain barrel or a cistern that captures larger quantities of water from your roof.
More waterwise tips:
Take some time soon to review how your efforts stack up in making sure you are firewise and waterwise this summer. Also look for additional resources to support your education and implementation – talk to your local plant nurseries, and look for helpful articles like this one from Swanson’s Nursery in Seattle written specifically for those of us in the Northwest.