Fire Safety Friday: Assessing Risk

Home Ignition Zones

During this trying time, we are all searching for thing to do on nice days here in western Washington. Some of us garden, others do yard work or play with our children to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. I propose that there is one more thing we can be doing while we are at home, and that is start preparing for the upcoming wildfire season.

Over the next 5 weeks I will be sharing recommendations that will help you be prepared for a potential wildfire event, culminating with an online live information session on Friday, May 1. You will then be prepared to participate in National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on May 2 either in your community or at home on your own.

I will also be sharing information from and with our partners Washington State Department of Natural ResourcesKing County Department of Natural Resources and ParksEastside Fire and RescueVashon Island Fire and Rescue and more.

Today, I am sharing with you information about “Defensible Space.” This refers to the natural or landscaped areas around our homes that is maintained and designated to reduce fire danger.

Home Ignition ZonesDefensible space is broken down into three different Home Ignition ZonesImmediate, Intermediate and Extended. For the next few weeks we are going to talk about some common observations and recommendations we can do to reduce our wildfire risk in each of these zones.

Here are a few suggestions to do in the Immediate Zone, which includes your home and the area out to 5 feet.

Cleaning Gutter with a Blower from AboveRemoving the accumulation from fine fuels reduce the rick a wind-blown ember starting a fire on your homes roof.

Homeowner On LadderCleaning gutters regularly ensures you don’t accumulate fine fuels that could be started from a wind-blown ember in the event of a wildfire.

Porch Log RackNow that the colder weather is behind us, moving your firewood or any other combustible material out to 30 feet will reduce the risk of a fire starting from a wind-blown ember and increasing in size directly next to your home.

Join me next week when I will explain what you can do in the Intermediate Zone (the next 5′ to 30′) around your home.

If you are interested in more information or remote technical assistance, reach out to me at or give me a call at 425-773-5060.

Matt Axe, Program Coordinator, Wildfire and Forest Resiliency

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