Wildfire Preparedness

Wildland-Urban Interface

Simply put, the area where homes blend together with forested and wildland areas create the wildland/urban interface. The 2 basic fuel types in the wildland/urban interface are vegetation and structures.

Basic vegetation mitigation such as properly disposing of bush and tree trimmings, old Christmas trees, dry leaves, and periodic watering of plants and shrubs, coupled with maintaining clear areas around your residence may help reduce your risk. View various tips to keep you and your family safe:
  • Be sure the irrigation system is well maintained.
  • Become familiar with local regulations regarding vegetative clearances, disposal of debris, and fire safety requirements for equipment.
  • Carefully space the trees you plant.
  • Consider leaving a minimum of 30 inches around the house to accommodate fire equipment, if necessary.
  • Dispose of cuttings and debris promptly, according to local regulations.
  • Dispose of smoking materials carefully.
  • Follow manufacturers' instructions when using fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Give yourself added protection with "fuel breaks" like driveways, gravel walkways, and lawns.
  • Keep trees and shrubs pruned. Prune all trees up to 6 inches to 10 inches from the ground.
  • Make sure an elevated wooden deck is not located at the top of a hill where it will be in direct line of a fire moving up slope; consider a terrace instead.
  • Mow your lawn regularly.
  • Prevent combustible materials and debris from accumulating beneath patio deck or elevated porches; screen under or box in areas below ground line with wire mesh no larger than 1/8 of an inch.
  • Remove leaf clutter and dead and overhanging branches.
  • Store and use flammable liquids properly.
  • Store firewood away from the house.
  • Take out the "ladder fuels" - vegetation that serves as a link between grass and tree tops. It can carry fire to a structure or from a structure to vegetation.
  • Use care when refueling garden equipment and maintain it regularly.

Consider Choosing Fire Resistant Materials:

  • Check local nurseries, greenhouses, and other businesses that sell plants and/or the York County extension service for advice on fire resistant plants that are suited for your environment.
  • Choose plant species that resist ignition such as rockrose, iceplant and aloe.
  • Create fire-safe zones with stone walls, patios, swimming pools, decks and roadways.
  • Fire-resistant shrubs include hedging roses, bush honeysuckles, currant, cotoneaster, sumac and shrub apples.
  • Plant hardwood, maple, poplar and cherry trees that are less flammable than pine, fir and other conifers.
  • Select high moisture plants that grow close to the ground and have a low sap or resin content.
  • There are no "fire-proof" plants.
  • Use rock, mulch, flower beds and gardens as ground cover for bare spaces and as effective firebreaks.