Central Oregon summers are hot and dry, and fires are a natural occurrence because of these conditions. Even though fires are common, there are things you can be doing to maintain your yard and home to prevent devastation, and minimize the spread of a fire, if one were to come through your area.
Weeds– Keep up on pulling weeds to keep them from taking over parts of your yard, as weeds can be dry and brittle, they easily become fire fuel. Not to mention you don’t want noxious weeds growing and spreading in your yard anyways.
Dead Foliage– Keep up on clipping, pruning and getting rid of dead foliage, branches and leaves on any plants, shrubs, and trees.
Limb Trees– If you have large pine trees on your property, as many of us here in Central Oregon do, you should have a professional come out to remove the lower branches, as they can cause fire to climb the tree. If you have very tall ladders, a chainsaw and are capable, you can limb the trees yourself, but if you have never done it before or do not feel comfortable, we recommend having a local tree professional come out and do it for you. You may be able to do maintenance work in the years following.
Spacing Plants– When planting any bushes, plants, or trees on your property, keep them spaced, at least a few feet apart, and keep the open space between them clear, watered, and free of any dead foliage.
Water Regularly– Watering every other day, during the cool hours (before noon and after three) can help keep your yard and plants wet enough to greatly reduce the spread of fires.
Fire-Resistant Plants– Unfortunately so many native plants in the area are flammable, such as: juniper, manzanita, sagebrush, and bitterbrush. You don’t have to completely clear these out of your yard, but by adding fire resistant plants to the landscape greatly helps in preventing the spread of fire, especially if you keep these trees, shrubs, and plants spread out from one another. Some fire-resistant plants that grow well in the Hight Desert are: red hot poker, evening primrose, blue flax, lupine, butterfly bush, sumac, lilac, sugar pine, crabapple, and many more.
Avoid Bark Mulch– If possible, avoid bark mulch, as it can be ignited quickly because of how dry it is, but if you can’t remove it, be sure to keep it watered regularly and moist.
Fire Scape Landscaping– Knowing zones in your yard and planting accordingly can have a great impact on the spread and prevention of fire getting to your home. Click here for some great tips from This Old House, and graphics showing zones and what to plant where.
Roof– Even though metal roofing is the safest roofing you can have here, if you don’t, keep dead leaves and pine needles off the roof to prevent ignition of ash or sparks.
It’s never too early to get started on fire-proofing your yard and home and it is even easier to maintain through the summer if you get started now!
Stay safe this summer!
The Jones Group @ Sunriver Realty
Do you know what to do in case of an emergency, when evacuation may be the only option for you and your family? Don’t wait until it’s too late! Click this link for an Emergency Preparedness Checklist.