Homeowners often think of pruning as common landscaping maintenance that maintains the safety and beauty of their homes. While this is true when it comes to maintaining the health and aesthetic appeal of a tree, pruning is also closely associated with fire safety. In fact, regular pruning decreases the potential for the spread of wildfire by removing low branches and excess yard waste. That’s why Westcoast Tree Care would like to provide you with the following guide to Spokane tree care and fire risk abatement.
Identifying Problematic Trees
First and foremost, it’s essential to understand the risks and identify any problematic trees to determine which ones are the most susceptible to a wildfire. Potential hazards include:
- A tree with excessive leaf loss or bare branches.
- A tree with peeling or missing bark.
- A tree with dry, brittle, or dead branches.
- Noticeable rot or fungus growth on or around a tree.
Dead or dying trees can be potential fire hazards and should be removed immediately. The certified arborist at Westcoast Tree Care will help you to identify and address any of these potential hazards.
Proper Tree Spacing
Vertical spacing is the removal of ladder fuels of low branches and high vegetation that create a bridge between the ground and a treetop. At Westcoast Tree Care, we recommend removing all tree branches at least six feet from the ground for lone trees and even more if there is nearby vegetation by trimming branches at least three times the height of a shrub or brush. Horizontal spacing is also important if you have multiple trees near one another, as you need at least 10 feet of horizontal space between them and nearby structures to maintain fire safety.
The general rule of tree spacing is to create adequate and clear space between trees, shrubs, and structures to slow and prevent the spread of a potential wildfire on your property.
Creating A Defensible Space
Washington has in place recommended guidelines for creating a defensible space to safeguard your property against wildfire. The primary goal of a defensible space is the creation of a buffer zone surrounding your property by removing thick, overgrown vegetation that may accelerate a potential wildfire.
Westcoast Tree Care recommends that this space extends at least 100 feet from your home and other structures on your property that are divided into two zones.
Zone 1 – 30 feet from structures
- Remove all but scattered trees within 30 feet of structures
- Regularly trim trees to keep branches at least 10 feet away from other trees and structures.
- Remove all dry and dead vegetation.
- Provide adequate space between all trees, bushes, and other flammable items.
Zone 2 – 100 feet from structures
- Create horizontal spacing between trees and bushes
- Create vertical spacing between trees and ground
- Keep driveways accessible for fire truces and provide a turn-around area.
- Keep your grass green and mowed 100 feet from any structure.
- Keep 100 feet of garden hose attached to your house.
Simply put, a fire needs fuel to burn. Dead or dry trees and vegetation will provide a fire with plenty of fuel to burn and travel from one location to another. For more information about fire risk abatement practices, click here.
Westcoast Tree Care is A Spokane Tree Care Company
Formally educated and ISA certified, the experts at Westcoast Tree Care specialize in Spokane tree care and fire risk abatement services. Contact us today by filling out our online form or give us a call at 1.800.767.8733 for a no-cost, no-obligation quote. Together, we will answer any questions you may have and get your home and property prepared for the wildfire season.