Last week we discussed how you can reduce wildfire risk within the first 5 feet of your home. This week, we’ll cover tree spacing, placement, and what can be done in the next 5 to 30 feet (Intermediate Zone) around the home to improve the chances of it surviving a wildfire.
Defensible space is broken down into three different Home Ignition Zones – Immediate, Intermediate and Extended.
Trees within the Immediate (0-5 feet) and Intermediate (5-30 feet) zones can increase the chances of a wildfire damaging a home. Trees planted within 30 feet increase wildfire risk by creating a continuous path for fire to spread closer to a home during a wildfire event.
Proper tree placement and spacing increases the aesthetic value of a property while decreasing the chances of a wildfire damaging the home. When planting trees around homes, remember to use “Defensible Space” and consider the placement and spacing of trees and how these actions can reduce the risk of wildfire damage. Here are some recommendations for spacing trees in all three zones.
Tree placement and spacing increases the aesthetic value of a property while decreasing the chances of a wildfire damaging the home.
Here are a few more actions to improve the Intermediate zone. Maintaining the this zone makes it “Lean, Clean and Green.”
- Lean – Ensure there are small amounts of flammable vegetation by planting fire-resistant plants as other vegetation dies.
- Clean – Remove any accumulation of dead vegetation or other flammable debris.
- Green – Water plants and grass to ensure they are healthy and green. In addition, mow lawns 4 inches high or shorter.
An Intermediate zone that is maintained “Lean, Clean and Green.” reduces the risk of a wildfire damaging a home.
A combination of wise tree placement, tree spacing, and maintaining the Intermediate Zone improves the chances of a home surviving a wildfire.
Stay tuned next week for recommendations on how to maintain a healthy and wildfire-resilient Extended zone.
Matt Axe, Program Coordinator, Wildfire and Forest Resiliency
Thanks to our partners Washington State Department of Natural Resources, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, Eastside Fire and Rescue, Vashon Island Fire and Rescue and more.
Matt Axe joins King Conservation District as the new Wildfire and Forest Resiliency Coordinator. Matt served 10 years in the U.S. Army before returning to school at Green River College where he began pursuing a career in forest management. At Green River College Matt acquired on the ground skills and experience in forestry while completing applied associate degrees in Wildfire, Forestry, Parks, and Recreation Management and a bachelor’s degree in forest management. Having lived with his family and worked in in the forests of rural king county and near Spokane most recently, Matt is very aware of the challenges that rural communities and Washington’s forests face due to climate change and increasing wildfire risks.
Matt is passionate about protecting our forests, helping the diverse communities that live in Wildland Urban Interface zones, and empowering private landowners to take actions that make their communities and homes more wildfire resilient. In collaboration with our partners at King County, Washington State Department of Natural Resources, and local fire districts, Matt will be providing wildfire preparedness education, wildfire risk assessment and planning services to individual landowners, communities, and working with communities to implement wildfire risk reduction projects.