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Articles UC Master Gardener Tips

Planning Your 3 Defensible Zones for Fire Safety

When planning your fire-smart landscape, start from the home and work your way out. The first 5 feet from your home is the most critical area.

Zone 0 – 0 to 5 feet from the house
Objective: create a fire-resistant barrier around any buildings by minimizing combustible materials.

● Use non-combustible mulch and hardscaping such as concrete, brick, rocks, decomposed
granite, and gravel
● Avoid planting near windows

Zone 1 – 5 to 30 feet from the house
Objective: Reduce heat and movement of flame by creating a “lean and clean” environment.

● Allow for ample plant spacing to slow the spread of flames
● Plant low-growing and well-irrigated plants closer to the home and larger shrubs and trees
further away
● Break up mulched areas with hardscaping

Zone 2 – 30 to 100 feet from the house
Objective: Decrease the energy and speed of a fire by eliminating plant density.

● Allow ample plant spacing both vertically and horizontally to slow down the spread of fire
● You may need to collaborate with your neighbors to plan out this defensible zone

For more information visit the UC Marin Master Gardener Website.

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