It's too soon to tell if this year's fire season will be wild or mild. But whatever Mother Nature has in store, you can give your rural home or vacation getaway a fighting chance when you "firewise" your property:
- Keep grass mowed and watered within 30 feet of your home. Consider firebreaks as part of the landscape – gravel paths, ponds and driveways.
- Prune trees so the lowest branches – the foliage, not just where the branches stem from the trunk – are at least 15 feet high, and ensure no limbs come within 15 feet of your home. Eliminate "brush to branch" contact.
- Mulch with pumice or gravel rather than combustible beauty bark.
- Stack firewood at least 30 feet away and uphill from any structure (uphill, since that's the direction fire tends to burn). Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and barbecues.
- Ensure tree crowns are spaced at least 20 feet apart. Clear wood debris that can fuel a fire along the forest floor.
- Make your property firefighter-friendly with your address visible from the street both day and night. Widen your driveway to at least 12 feet so a fire truck can get through.
- Get prepared with a family emergency plan and emergency kit, whether you're facing the threat of a wildfire, earthquake, windstorm or flood.