Fire Safety Friday: Extended Zone and Access

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.


Home Ignition Zones

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.

Project Wildfire – Evacuation

Oregon State University Extension: Preparing Your Family for Emergencies

Stay tuned for next week, I will share a video showing how to perform a home wildfire risk assessment.

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

Thanks to our partners Washington State Department of Natural ResourcesKing County Department of Natural Resources and ParksEastside Fire and RescueVashon Island Fire and Rescue and more.

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