For the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about what you can do to prepare your homes for a wildfire. Defensible Space is broken down into three different Home Ignition Zones – Immediate, Intermediate and Extended.
The Immediate and Intermediate Zones are the most important zones to work in because they are where we achieve the most impact on Defensible Space.
This week we will talk about how to reduce wildfire risk in the Extended Zone (30-100 feet) and ensure emergency services can effectively and efficiently access your home.
Typically, planned neighborhoods that have lots smaller than 1 acre and closely spaced homes don’t have an Extended Zone portion of their Defensible Space. This is an opportunity for community members to work together and create overlapping zones to improve the overall wildfire resiliency of the entire community.
Well-maintained overlapping Home Ignition Zones increase a community’s overall wildfire resiliency.
When assessing the Extended Zone for communities and small private landowners alike, the first thing to examine is address signage and driveway access. Having address signage that is highly visible at different times of the day along with properly managed vegetation along your driveway can help emergency services respond effectively and efficiently.
Non-reflective address signage can be hard to see at different times of the day and could increase the response time of emergency services.
Easily seen address signage that is reflective and has a contrasting color to its background can improve response time of emergency services
When vegetation encroaches on your driveway, it can decrease the ability of emergency service to access your home and property.
Maintaining vegetation along driveways by pruning trees up to 15-feet and cutting vegetation back to maintain a 12-foot driveway width ensures emergency vehicle access.
One more consideration: Do you have an evacuation plan? An evacuation plan is just as important as developing a Defensible Space. The following links can help you prepare your family’s home evacuation plan.
Stay tuned for next week, I will share a video showing how to perform a home wildfire risk assessment.
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.