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Enhance Your Fire Safety: Sonoma County Firefighters Share Tips for Protecting Your Home in the 'Intermediate Zone'

As your Professional Fire Fighters, we’re committed to keeping you prepared and, most importantly, safe when it comes to fire safety.

Last week we shared information on protecting your home from wildfires in Zone 1: Immediate Zone (0-5' from home). Now, we’re focusing on protecting your homes from wildfires - particularly within the ‘Intermediate Zone,’ which is 5-30' from the furthest exterior point of your home.

Your landscaping choices can have a big impact on fire safety. Here are some practical steps you can take:

1. Clear vegetation from under large, stationary propane tanks.

2. Create ‘fuel breaks’ with your driveways, walkways, patios, and decks. These hard surfaces can help slow or stop the spread of fire.

3. Keep your lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of four inches.

4. Remove ladder fuels, i.e., low-hanging branches and shrubs under trees that a surface fire can use to reach the crowns. Prune trees up to 6-10 feet from the ground, but remember, for shorter trees, don’t remove more than 1/3 of the overall tree height.

5. Space trees so their crowns are a minimum of eighteen feet apart - and increase this distance if you’re on a slope.

6. Plan tree placement so mature canopies are at least ten feet away from the edge of your structure.

7. Limit trees and shrubs in this zone to small clusters. This helps to break up the continuity of vegetation across your landscape, reducing the fire’s ability to spread rapidly.

By taking these steps, you can help influence and decrease fire behavior. Stay safe, Sonoma County! We’re here if you need us.