Fire Safety

Fire is a natural part of the environment.

Forests were burning long before there existed an urban interface. We are now living in fire prone environments and many of us are unaware of the likelihood of fire to occur. Wildfires burn intensely and can be difficult to control. The best way to protect your home and your neighborhood from wildfire is to create a defensible space.

 

Defensible Space

For more information visit:

http://readyforwildfire.org

http://www.sccfiresafe.org

http://www.fire.ca.gov

http://www.firewise.org

http://firepreventionfee.org

 

The Lexington Hills Community Wildfire Protection Plan can be found here.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the relationship between vegetation and wildfire threat?

All vegetation, including naturally occurring native plants and ornamental plants in the residential landscape, is potential wildfire fuel. If vegetation is properly modified and maintained, a wildfire can be slowed, the length of flames shortened, and the amount of heat reduced, all of which assist firefighters to defend a home against an oncoming wildfire.

 

The fire department is supposed to protect my house, so why bother with defensible space?

During a major wildfire, it is unlikely there will be enough firefighting resources avail able to defend every home. In these instances, firefighters will likely select homes they can safely and effectively protect. Even with adequate re sources, some wildfires may be so intense that there may be little firefighters can do to prevent a house from burning. The key is to reduce fire intensity as wildfire nears the house. This can be accomplished by reducing the amount of flammable vegetation surrounding a home. The action taken by the owner before the wildfire occurs (such as proper landscaping) is critical.

 

Does defensible space require a lot of bare ground in my landscape?

No. Unfortunately that is a common misconception. While bare ground may be effective in reducing the wildfire threat, it lacks in appearance and may cause soil erosion. Landscaping can be designed to create an attractive well-vegetated property that also provides effective defensible space for homes.

 

Does creating a defensible space require any special skills or equipment?

No. For the most part, creating a defensible space employs routine gardening and landscape maintenance practices; such as, pruning, mowing, weeding, plant removal, appropriate plant selection and irrigation. The necessary equipment consists of common tools, like a chain saw, pruning saw, pruning shears, loppers, weed-eater, shovel and a rake. A chipper, compost bin or a large rented trash dumpster may be useful in disposing of unwanted plant material.

 

How big is an effective defensible space?

Defensible space size is usually expressed as the distance from the house in which vegetation is man aged to reduce the wildfire threat. The necessary distance for an effective defensible space is not the same for everyone, but varies by slope and type of wildland vegetation growing near a house.

 

Does defensible space make a difference?

Yes. Investigations of homes threatened by wildfire indicate that houses with an effective defensible space are much more likely to survive a wild fire. Further more, homes with both an effective defensible space and a non flammable roof (composition shingles, tile, metal, etc.) are many times more likely to survive a wildfire than those without defensible space and flammable roofs (wood shakes or shingles). These conditions give firefighters the opportunity to effectively and safely defend a home.

 

Other fire-safe reminders.

Be sure to clean out your gutters, sweep debris off your decks and underneath stairs, make at least ten feet of clearance around your propane tank, and keep trees at least ten feet above your roof and sides of your house or other structure.