There’s no reason you can’t make your yard and landscaping FireSmart AND aesthetically pleasing. When landscaping consider clearing out debris and open up the area close to your home.
The FireSmart program identifies three priority zones that must be managed to reduce the wildfire threat to your home. Priority zones one and two are the most critical– this is known as the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ). Homeowners, builders and landscapers should focus on reducing the risks in the HIZ.
In addition to the actual building design and construction material used to construct your home, the type of plant material and the design of the landscape immediately adjacent to your home is a critical factor in determining the likelihood of your home surviving a wildfire. It is important to select fire resistant plant material and design your landscape to reduce the risk.
A complete list of FireSmart landscaping tips can be found in the FireSmart Guide to Landscaping.
Fire resistant plants are those that do not readily ignite from flame or other ignition sources. These plants can be damaged or even killed by fire; however, their foliage and stems do not significantly contribute to the fuel and fire intensity.
Characteristics of fire resistant plants:
Characteristic of highly flammable plant:
AVOID LANDSCAPING WITH HIGHLY FLAMABLE PLANTS AROUND YOUR HOME. The FireSmart Guide to Landscaping provides a comprehensive list of FireSmart plants.
A well maintained lawn can serve as an effective firebreak as part of your FireSmart landscape. Lawns can also add to the enjoyment of your yard, property value, and help cool your home in the summer, reducing energy for air-conditioners. However, most lawns are much larger than required and consume high amounts of water in comparison to most other plantings.
Take a look at your lawn and ask yourself these questions:
Bark mulch, pine needle mulches and other plant-based mulches offer many benefits to gardens. However, these mulches are susceptible to ignition from wildfire embers or cigarettes, increasing the fire threat to your home. When landscaping against your home, consider using gravel mulch, rock mulch, or a combination of plant mulch and decorative rock mulch to reduce the risk.
In many wildland/urban interface areas most plants will attract wildlife. In most cases this does not result in conflict of high consequence. In some cases, however, it can result in very dangerous situations for both humans and wildlife. The most prominent example is that of human/bear conflicts.
Consider these tips to reduce this conflict potential:
I am committed to remove all long grass, shrubs, logs, branches, twigs and needles within 10 metres of my home.— Alvin acorn, Community Member, Yellowhead county , Alberta