What is the Home Ignition Zone

The Home Ignition Zones are areas within 30 metres of the structure of your home that are most susceptible to wildfire.
Post-fire studies, experiments and models have shown that homes ignite due to the condition of the home and everything that surrounds it up to 100 metres from the foundation. That is why FireSmart principles focus on mitigating a home’s vulnerability to wildfire, through specific actions taken in the Home Ignition Zones. Residents can take small steps starting from within the home and working their way outwards on their property to reduce the amount of potential fuel for embers, surface fires, or large flames.

The home ignition zone is made up of three areas.

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Immediate Zone: 0 – 1.5 metres

The Immediate Zone start from the house and extends to 1.5m from the furthest attached exterior point of the home, also called the non-combustible area. In this area, residents are encouraged to take immediate action as it is most vulnerable to embers. There are many things you can do right away in the Immediate Zone:

 

  • Reduce the chance of wind-blown embers igniting materials near your home by creating a non-combustible surface around the entire home and any attachments, such as decks.
  • Clear vegetation and combustible material down to mineral soil.
  • In landscape design, use non-combustible materials such as gravel, brick, or concrete.
  • Avoid woody shrubs, trees or tree branches. If any are present, ensure to prune and maintain them regularly.
Intermediate Zone: 1.5 – 10 metres

In the intermediate zone, you want to create a landscape that will not easily transmit fire to the home. Here are things to consider in the Intermediate Zone:

 

  • Plant fire-resistant plants and shrubs and select non-combustible materials.
  • Avoid having any woody debris, including mulch, as it provides potential places for fires to start.
  • Keep combustible items like, firewood piles, construction materials, patio furniture, tools, and decorative pieces away from your home as they pose a major fire hazard.
  • Move firewood piles, trailers, recreational vehicles, storage sheds and other combustible structures out of the Intermediate Zone and into the Extended Zone. If that’s not possible, store firewood inside your mitigated garage, shed or other ember resistant structures.
  • Create a non-combustible zone, like a gravel pad, underneath and for 1.5 metres around trailers, recreational vehicles, and sheds.
  • Keep any outbuildings to the same standards as those of your home.
Extended Zone: 10 – 30 metres

The goal in the Extended Zone is not to eliminate fire, but to reduce its intensity. There are many steps you can take if your property extends out to this zone:

  • Thin and prune evergreen trees to reduce hazard.
  • Selectively remove evergreen trees within 30 metres of your home to create at least 3 metres of horizontal space between the single or grouped tree crowns and remove all branches to a height of 2 metres from the ground on the remaining evergreen trees.
  • Prune trees up to 100 metres from your home is recommended.
  • Regularly clean up accumulations of fallen branches, dry grass and needles from on the ground to eliminate potential surface fuels.

You may want to consider seeking the guidance of a forest professional with wildland fire knowledge for more information on appropriate management options for this zone.

Learn more

You can find more information about specific actions to take in each home ignition zone in the FireSmart Begins at Home Manual.

FireSmart Begins at Home Manual Intelli-feu Manuel Soyez Intelli-feu a domicile