Marin Master Gardeners
University of California
Marin Master Gardeners

Fire-smart Landscaping - Fire Facts

A Few Fire Facts

  • California wildfires are becoming more frequent, intense, and destructive. There are many reasons why and the short list includes more wildland vegetation, more development in the WUI, climate change causing more heat over longer periods, more wind and less moisture.
  • Defensible space is the space around a structure that creates a sufficient buffer to slow or halt the spread of fire to a structure. It protects the home from igniting due to embers, direct flame or radiant heat.  Defensible space is essential to help protect a structure during a wildland fire. 
  • Embers are small pieces of burning material that can travel more than a mile ahead of a wildfire. They can create spot fires when they land on combustible materials such as dry leaves in your gutter.  Embers are the most significant cause of home ignition in wildfires.
  • Fire starts when oxygen and heat come in contact with fuel. Fuel is anything that burns.
    • Dry or dead trees, shrubs, perennials
    • Mulch
    • Garden tools and brooms
    • Green waste containers
    • Garden and patio furniture and cushions
    • Jute or natural fiber door mats
    • Stack of wood
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