Friday, July 1, 2011

Making Your Landscape FireWise

Pine Straw mulch is highly flammable.
Along with forests, wildfires are a natural part of our region that help balance and renew local ecosystems. While both appealing and rewarding, living within a forest does increase the risk of your home being damaged by wildfire, but did you realize how you plant and maintain your landscape can also affect the risk of wildfire damaging your home? If you live among or near forested land you should be particularly careful about which plants are in your landscape, where you place them, and how you care for them.

The concept of FireWise landscaping, developed by N.C. State University, the U.S. Forestry Service, the University of Florida, and others, emphasizes plant choice, placement, and maintenance to reduce the risk of wildfires damaging homes in communities surrounded by trees. One of the key principles of FireWise landscaping is maintaining a buffer zone around homes designed to minimize the spread of fire. Known as the ‘survivable space’, this zone should extend a minimum of 30’ in all directions.

Within this zone, residents should avoid using plants and materials known to be highly flammable. To learn more about these plants and maintenance practices that reduce the risk of wildfire entering your landscape read the rest of the story on the Pender County Cooperative Extension website,

To learn more about making your landscape FireWise, visit the NC FireWise website,, where you can download an individual assessment sheet that will help you rate your home and property’s fire risk, as well as copy of the NC Extension publication ‘Firewise Landscaping in North Carolina’.

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