Projected dry conditions will lead to above normal significant fire potential in areas of Eastern Washington this summer. Creating defensible space around the home can greatly increase the chances of your home surviving a wildfire. Homeowners should take active steps to defend their homes from wildfire by using Firewise plants in the landscape.
Firewise plants are fire-resistant plants that due to their ability to retain moisture do not readily ignite from a flame or other ignition sources. When planning a landscape, homeowners have a wide assortment of plants, trees and shrubs to choose from that are both attractive and fire-resistant. Key characteristics of these plants are:
- Thick succulent leaves.
- Low amount of dead materials.
- Sap is water-like and does not have a strong odor.
- Sap or resin materials are low.
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"Fire-resistant does not mean fireproof," cautions State Fire Marshal Mike Matlick, "these plants can still be damaged and killed by the heat and flames."
If you still desire plant species that are highly flammable in your landscape, plant them more than 30 feet from any structure or other items that can burn, such as woodpiles and fences.
Fire-resistant Plants for Home Landscapes - Selecting plants that may reduce your risk from wildfire is a free electronic publication available online at http://www.firefree.org/. Homeowners can also visit http://www.firewise.org/ for tips and ideas on how to protect their home from wildfire.
Firewise Photo Gallery
Visit the Firewise Photo Gallery for downloadable pictures of Firewise communities, fire-resistant landscaping and construction practices, and Firewise projects. The Gallery is housed in 'Firewise You Can Use'.