1. In most areas, a safety zone should be cleared away from your home for a distance of not less than 30 feet. This is the Lean, Clean, and Green Zone since it should have low fuel levels, cleaned up of lumber, cardboard boxes, and other fuel. It should also be well irrigated. As the slope of the lot increases, additional clearance as far out as 100 feet may be necessary.

2. Prune your trees up a distance 3 times the height of the tallest shrubs or plants underneath them (for example if you have a 5 foot Ocean Spray shrub growing under a Douglas-fir Tree, then you would need to prune the tree up 15 feet). This will prevent any ground fires from climbing into the tree tops. Be sure to remove all tree limbs around your chimney, as well as any dead branches that may hang over the roof. Accumulated leaves, needles, and other dead vegetation should also be removed.  

3. Beyond your Lean, Clean and Green Zone, dead wood and older trees should be removed or thinned. We recommend thinning so that there is a 10 foot spacing between the tips of branches from adjacent trees. Note that this is really only needed with conifers. Hardwoods like Red Alder, Maple, Cottonwood, and Poplar pose little threat. Keep an eye on any limbs that may come in contact with power lines. If you're not equipped to trim them yourself, call the power company and let them know about the hazard.

The goal is to reduce the amount of fuel immediately surrounding your home. However, this does not mean your landscape has to be barren. Some plants are more fire resistive than others. Your safety zone can consist of numerous varieties of plants, including grasses, border plantings, flowers and vegetables. You can also call the Clark County Specialty Nursery Association to find out what nurseries in your area carry these plants. Contact them via by phone at (360) 263-8890, or visit their website at www.specialtynursery.org. The DNR also has a brand new video on how to landscape your yard so it is FireWise and attractive. It features Cisco Morris, gardening expert. Call (360) 577-2025 to request a copy. It is entitled: Making Yard Work Work For You.

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