Shasta County is a breathtaking place to call home. But while many people couldn’t imagine living anywhere else, the reality is that this part of California is prone to wildfires. In just the last few years, this area has experienced dozens of fires, which have tragically destroyed countless homes, businesses, and even lives.
If you live or work in the area, it’s essential for you to know how to protect yourself and your property. A big part of that is creating a defensible space Redding CA residents can depend on to hold off any blaze.
What is Defensible Space and Why Do You Need It?
Let’s first talk about what a defensible space is. Defensible space refers to an area around a structure (like a home or commercial building) that has been specifically designed to slow the spread of a fire. This is accomplished by removing or treating debris, plants and vegetation, and combustible materials.
While designing a defensible space involves a lot of variables, factoring this level of protection into your property’s landscaping and upkeep is a highly effective way to stop wildfire damage. Defensible spaces often make it possible for firefighters to battle a blaze — which might not be possible if a property is covered in overgrown vegetation. By including a defensible space in your property design, you can slow down the spread of a fire and ensure that firefighters are granted enough time and room to do their jobs.
How to Create a Defensible Space Redding CA Homeowners Can Count On
When designing a defensible space, considerations like weather, native plants, and topography are taken into account. Your property will be divided up into zones based on the proximity to the structure and the best practices for preventing the spread of a fire.
In zone 1, which is anywhere within 30 feet of the home or building, all combustible materials need to be eliminated. These would include firewood, patio furniture, wooden decks, and combustible vegetation. These elements would need to be replaced with non-flammable materials, such as rock gardens, irrigated grasses, stone patios, and metal furniture. Hanging branches and any roof or gutter debris will also need to be removed.
In zone 2, located more than 30 feet away, all trees and shrubs should be spaced out. Experts recommend removing any pertinent shrubs to ensure that the separation between each should equal three times the height of those shrubs. Mature trees should also be thinned out so that they’re separated from each other by at least 10 feet. Dead branches should also be removed. Any woodpiles should be placed at least 30 feet away from the main structure and stored in a place free of vegetation. Be sure to use hardscaping techniques, plant fire-resistant vegetation, and separate additional structures (like garages, sheds, gazebos, pergolas, or pump houses) from the main building by at least 50 feet.
And in zone 3, you should continue to thin plants, shrubs, and vegetation both horizontally and vertically. This can play a major role in slowing down a fire, as keeping this area well-maintained will provide less fuel for a blaze. You should also take care to remove dead branches and eliminate lower tree branches, maintain proper spacing between trees and shrubs, and even mitigate steep slopes (as these can speed up the spread of a fire).
Overall, you must continue to perform regular maintenance of your defensible space. Picking low-maintenance vegetation can help make these tasks more manageable. Always consider both horizontal and vertical growth and maintenance when creating this space and follow all guidelines put forth by your local or state fire agency.
In light of all the recent fires that have wreaked havoc on Shasta County, it’s vital for area homeowners and business owners to be proactive about their fire protection. To learn more about creating a defensible space Redding CA locals can trust to keep them safe, contact us today.