Defending Your Home During a Brushfire

Recently a resident of our fire district lost their home to a brushfire. While we will do our absolute best to preserve your property during the event of a brushfire, there are steps you can take before fire strikes that will allow us to better defend your home. Let’s take a quick look together at how to create defensible space around your home. We recommend keeping your property lean, clean, and green. What does that mean?

Maintaining a lean, clean, and green landscape within 30 feet of a structure can make a significant difference in whether it survives a brushfire. The important thing is that action must be taken before fire threatens.

Lean — small amounts of flammable vegetation
Clean — no accumulations of dead vegetation
Green — plants are healthy and green; lawn is well irrigated

Reducing fuel within the defensible space means creating a landscape that breaks up the continuity of brush and other vegetation that could bring fire in contact with any flammable portion of the structure.

This may involve:
Eliminating any flammable vegetation in contact with the structure
Thinning out trees and shrubs so there is 10 to 15 feet between the tree crowns
Pruning tree limbs to a height of 6 to 10 feet
Replacing highly flammable landscape material with plant materials having a higher water content
Replacing flammable mulch adjacent to the structure with gravel or rock
Eliminating “ladder fuels” near the structure that might carry a surface fire to the roof or eaves

Fire is a natural part of our Florida ecosystems. It is not a matter of if we are going to have brushfires, but when will we have brushfires and at what intensity. Homeowners must assume a major role in brushfire protection by taking action to reduce the ignitability of their homes before the threat of a fire.

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