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Fire Resistant Plants

Fire Resistant Plants

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Fire-resistant plants are those that do not readily ignite from a flame or other ignition sources, such as embers. These plants can be damaged or even killed by fire; however, their foliage and stems do not significantly contribute to the fuel and, therefore, the fire’s intensity. There are several other significant factors that influence the fire characteristics of plants, including plant moisture content, age, total volume, dead material, and chemical content.

BUT Fire-resistant does not mean fireproof. Even if you have fire resistant plants in your landscaping be sure to keep them irrigated and maintained.

Plants that are fire-resistant typically have the following characteristics:

• Leaves are moist and supple.
• Plants have little dead wood and tend not to accumulate dry, dead material within the plant.
• The sap is water-like and does not have a strong odor.
• Sap or resin materials are low.

Using fire resistant plants play a critical role in the creation and maintenance of your defensible space. As more homes are built in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), residents must take special precautions to protect their lives, homes, and property. One way to do this is to create a defensible space around your home. This is the area between your home or other structures, where potential fuel (materials or vegetation) have been modified, reduced, or cleared to create a barrier and slow the spread of wildfire toward your home.

With adequate defensible space, your home has an 85%-90% chance of surviving a wildfire without anyone needing to be there to intervene. A clear defensible space also allows room for firefighters to fight the fire safely if they are able to access your home. Three critical steps in creating a defensible space include using fire-resistant building materials (for example, roofing materials), reducing wildland fuels around the home, and using fire-resistant plant material in the landscape.

Defensible space does not have to be a moonscape to be effective