7 Frequently Asked Questions About Wildfire Defensible Spaces
Minimizing the devastating impact wildfires have on our lives starts with maintaining wildfire defensible spaces through responsible vegetation management. Our certified arborists at Vintage Tree Care are here to combat the rising threat of wildfires and help you protect your property.
In this article, we answer your most common questions about creating a wildfire defensible space and what you can do right now to help ensure the safety of your environment.
1. What is a Wildfire Defensible Space?
A wildfire defensible space is designed to safeguard your home or business in the event of a wildfire by creating a buffer between structures and surrounding vegetation. These buffer zones provide safe spaces for firefighters and first responders to defend your property from damage and slow or stop the spread of the fire.
2. What Are the Defensible Space Zones?
At Vintage Tree Care, our arborists are here to serve Sonoma County home and business owners and help keep your trees healthy and your property safe. As advised by The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), there are two zones that make up the required 100 feet of wildfire defensible space on your property:
Zone 1: Extends 30ft.
The first zone extends 30 feet around homes, decks, patios, and any other building or structure, on your property.
Zone 2: Extends 30ft. – 100ft.
The second zone extends 100 feet around homes, decks, patios, and any other building or structure, on your property.
Contact Vintage Tree Care for help determining the zones on your property, and to learn how you can best safeguard your environment from the threat of wildfires.
3. How Do I Maintain the Wildfire Defensible Space Zones?
If you live in a high-risk wildfire area like Sonoma County, proper tree care and vegetation management on your property is essential to maintaining the zones of defensible space. Each zone has its own required maintenance and recommended care to ensure they remain safeguarded from wildfires. Read our previous blog to learn Three Ways You Can Create a Wildfire Defensible Space Around Your Property.
The most beneficial thing you can do to maintain each zone is drastically reducing the number of potential fire fuels in your environment. Fire fuel reduction lowers the impact a wildfire can have on your land and can reduce the speed at which it can grow and spread.
Fire Fuel Reduction Services
- Remove dead or dangerous trees
- Tree pruning and trimming
- High weed and vegetation management
- Removing roof, gutter, and yard debris
- Managing non-vegetation fuel sources
- Eliminate potential ladder fuels
- Create fuel breaks throughout your property
Contact Vintage Tree Care today for a property risk assessment or any other tree care services to help reduce the fire fuels in your environment.
4. What are Ladder Fuels?
Ladder fuels include living or dead vegetation that could allow a low-burning fire to climb from the ground or from other low vegetation into a tree canopy. Common ladder fuels include shrubs, tall weeds or grass, low hanging tree branches, and much more.
Maintaining the ladder fuels on your property, by creating vertical spacing between trees, shrubs, and other vegetation is an essential step to creating a defensible space.
To create proper vertical space on your property, all tree limbs need to be a minimum of 6 feet from the ground. To create a vertical clearance between trees and other vegetation you will need to trim the lowest branches of the tree up to a minimum of three times the height of the plant. Example: A tree next to a 2-foot tall plant will need its branches trimmed a minimum of 6 feet above the plant – 2 feet X 3 feet = 6 feet.
Learn more about Managing Ladder Fuels Around Your Property to Create a Wildfire Defensible Space in our previous article.
5. What are Fuel Breaks?
A fuel break is a horizontal strip or block of space between flammable vegetation that has been cleared away, leaving nothing that can be burned. Natural fuel breaks include paved driveways or roadways, gravel or rocks, bodies of water, etc. You can strategically create aesthetically pleasing fuel breaks between trees and shrubs around your property with horizontal spacing.
Creating a fuel break with proper horizontal spacing depends on the height of the shrubs and slope of the land:
- Flat Land: Requires a minimum of 10 feet between trees, and 2Xs the height of a shrub between plants.
- Moderate Slopes: Requires a minimum of 20 feet between trees and 4Xs the height of a shrub between plants.
- Steep Slopes: Requires a minimum of 30 feet between trees and 6Xs the height of a shrub between plants.
At Vintage Tree Care, we can assist you with any questions of tree and shrub maintenance, including proper horizontal spacing. Call or contact us our certified arborists online today.
6. What is Fire-Resistant Landscaping?
Strategically planting fire-resistant trees and shrubs can help safeguard your property in the event of a fire. This type of vegetation will not ignite as quickly and will burn slower, and with less intensity. This can drastically slow the spread of a fire and give first responders more time to defend your property.
Learn about some of the Best Fire-Resistant Trees You Can Plant in Sonoma County to help maintain a wildfire defensible space on your property in our previous blog post.
Fire-Resistant Doesn’t Mean Fireproof
It is important to remember that fire-resistant landscaping doesn’t mean your property is fireproof. All trees, shrubs, and other plant life is susceptible to fire. To create and maintain a fire-resistant landscape and a wildfire defensible space around your property requires year-round vegetation management.
7. What Time of Year Do I Need to Create a Wildfire Defensible Space?
You will want to create a wildfire defensible space on your property as soon as possible. A defensible space will require year-round maintenance through proper vegetation management and tree care to ensure your property remains as secure as possible.
Take the first step toward creating a wildfire defensible space on your property by contacting our team today.
Maintain a Wildfire Defensible Space on Your Property with the Professionals at Vintage Tree Care
For over 25 years the certified arborists at Vintage Tree Care have been leaders in the tree care industry. We are dedicated to proving the highest quality tree care and vegetation management to help ensure the safety of our community and reduce the spread of wildfires in Sonoma County.
Contact Vintage Tree Care today to learn more about maintaining a wildfire defense space around your property.
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