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Wildfires have ravaged homes and businesses in record amounts, making everyone more aware of the importance of fire preparedness. Here are some steps you can take throughout the year to build and keep a defensible space to protect your home against a fire.

Create the Recommended Defensible Space Zones
A true defensible space is separated into two zones. You’ll need to ensure vigilant maintenance of foliage and debris within these zones. The extent of the maintenance will differ between zones and will need to be kept up throughout the year. 

Zone 1 (Within 30-50 feet of your structure, depending on local laws)
Remove any dead vegetation, dry leaves or pine needles from your yard, under decks, on the roof and gutters. Prune or remove flammable foliage near windows. Finally, create a separation between trees, shrubs and other items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc. 

Zone 2 (Within 100 feet)
Mow grass below 4 inches and remove any leaves, needles, twigs or small branches. Also, cut any tree branches that are less than six feet from the ground. This will prevent extra vertical space between foliage and trees or shrubs from creating a “ladder” for the fire to move from the ground to the brush to tree branches. Your local fire department may provide advice for the best horizontal spacing of foliage in this zone since large vegetation closeby can allow a fire to hop across your property to your home.

Tips to Further Defend Your Space
While your defensible space zones are imperative to protecting your home, there are other simple things you can do in addition to maintaining these spaces. For instance, keep your lawn furniture’s cushions indoors unless you are using them. Synthetic fibers in cushions can ignite easily if a wayward ember were to fall on one. During seasons with high fire risk, keep hoses attached to all spigots around the home and make sure they have a nozzle attached so you can easily quell a small fire in your yard. Finally, keep your lawn or nearby vegetation strategically irrigated to prevent dry spots.

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