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.