FireSmart Canada

Ignition Zone

What is the Ignition Zone and why is it so important?

Your ignition zone – including the condition of the house and its immediate surroundings within 30 to 100 metres and other structures such as garages, decks, porches, or fences that come in contact with the house – is what determines your home’s susceptibility to ignition during a wildfire.

Here are some simple steps for making your ignition zone a deterrent to wildfire progress:

  • Clear the build-up of needles and leaves from the base of the house and any connecting structures which could otherwise ignite the home’s siding.
  • Create a three-metre, fire-free (i.e. non-combustible) area on all sides of your home.
  • Clear trees and shrubs of dead material and keep them pruned. Space trees and shrubs far enough apart to slow the spread of an approaching wildfire.
  • Choose deciduous trees and shrubs, rather than evergreens for planting close to your home. Evergreens burn fiercely. Plants that shed leaves annually burn more slowly.
  • Regularly care for your property to keep it free of dead leaves, needles and debris. Plant native wildflowers and fire-resistant plants; keep lawns trimmed and irrigated as they serve as good fire breaks, as do rock gardens and xeriscapes.
  • Remember that wide driveways, non-flammable walkways and other pathways can slow or stop the spread of a wildfire.
  • Use metal flashing at all connection points of structures, such as wooden fences attached to the house.
  • “Limb up” trees around the house by removing lower limbs that are within 2.5 metres of the ground.
  • Trim any limbs on trees hanging over the house.
  • Store firewood well away from your house, particularly during fire-season.
  • Use non-flammable (Class A rated) roofing materials.
  • Clear gutters of leaves and debris.
  • Ensure that chimneys for all wood burning appliances are screened to prevent escape of live embers.
  • Remove excess vegetation along roads.

I am committed to contact my local Fire Department to support FireSmart activities and policies at the local municipal level.

— Alan Westhaver, Community Member, Fernie, British Columbia