Fire officials with the Douglas Forest Protective Association and local fire departments are urging homeowners to take time this spring to create defensible space around their homes to help reduce the risk of wildfire-related property damage. Creating defensible space is a relatively simple, effective way to reduce a home's wildfire risk, for little or no cost.
Defensible space is the area around a home or other structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of a wildfire. By having adequate defensible space, the risk of a wildfire spreading from the surrounding vegetation to a nearby home is greatly reduced.
Homeowners can create defensible space by pruning nearby trees, removing underbrush, mowing tall grass, and by removing all dead or dying vegetation within 100 feet of a structure. In addition, pine needles and leaves which have accumulated in gutters, on the roof and other places around the home, should also be removed.
Besides vegetation which could pose a fire hazard, residents should also look at other flammable materials that are stored around their home that could be used as fuel for a wildfire. For example, firewood piles, gas cans, propane tanks, and lumber piles should all be stored at least 30 feet away from a home during fire season. In addition, other common everyday items which are found around homes, and are made of plastic, rubber, wood, or other flammable material are potential fuel for a wildfire.
For more information about creating defensible space, contact the Douglas Forest Protective Association or your local fire department.