The primary goal of defensible space is fuel reduction and hazard mitigation. - Limiting the amount of flammable vegetation and materials surrounding the home. The home itself and everything around it up to 100-200 feet is known as the 'home ignition zone.' In areas across the country where risk of wildfire is high, the home ignition zone extends up to 200 feet beyond the actual structure. Within this 200 foot area, there are three zones:
ZONE ONE: 0 - 30 ft. -This zone encircles the structure and all its attachments (wooden decks, fences, attached sheds, etc.) for at least 30 feet on all sides. Note: the 30 ft. number comes from the very minimum distance, on flat ground, that a wood wall can be separated from the radiant heat of large flames without igniting. In this zone:
ZONE TWO: 30 -100 ft. -This area around the home should be well thinned and maintained, low growing, well irrigated and less flammable. In our AZ fuel model (mostly brush and some mixed chaparral), these need to be reduced considerably. Flame lengths from these can reach three times the plant height and put out extreme radiant heat. In this zone:
ZONE THREE: 100 - 250 ft. -This area should be adequately thinned, although less space is required than in Zone 2. Note: Because of other factors such as topography, the recommended distances to mitigate for radiant heat exposure actually extend between 100 - 200 feet from the home - this would be on a site-specific basis. In this zone:
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Wildfire is inevitable we must learn to live with it!
This human-caused fire charred about 730 square miles, destroyed nearly 500 homes and prompted the evacuation of about 30,000 people. It was Arizona's largest wildfire until 2011.
You don't have to live in wooded areas for your house to be at risk. Homes in lighter fuel areas are still very susceptible to wildfire and still need defensible space.
Homes surrounded by heavy brush are extremely likely to be lost to wildfire without defensible space. These fuels must be reduced and maintained every year.
Everybody wants to live in a forest! Homes are being built in these areas more and more! Most without the thought of being built to sustain a wildfire.
This home in Yarnell, AZ was saved from wildfire in 2013 because of its defensible space. Fire crews were able to save this home with minimal effort.
This human caused fire destroyed 841 square miles (538,049 acres), destroyed 72 structures, totaling over $100 million dollars. It is now Arizona's largest wildfire to date. Experts believe hundreds of homes were saved by having defensible space.
This human caused fire burned 84,750 acres
(132.4 sq miles) and destroyed 340 homes and businesses. Estimated at a cost of 25 million dollars
Destructive wildfires affect virtually every part of the U.S., threatening communities, disrupting residents through evacuations and home losses, creating millions of dollars of damage to homes, businesses and valuable natural resources. In the past 15 years, annual home losses from wildfire have tripled. In 2012, more than 2,200 primary structures were lost due to wildfire. Over 2000 in 2013. Entire towns have now been lost. Bringing our yearly average to 2,600 primary structures lost every year since 1999. While firefighters work diligently to protect our property, the truth is, they cant save every home, and their efforts and safety are increasingly compromised by today's severe wildfires. These wildfires have grown in size and frequency every year. The recent lack of winter moisture and extreme summer temperatures have all fire departments and agencies on edge.
The good news is, unlike hurricanes, floods or earthquakes, there are simple and often inexpensive ways to make our homes in that exist in the wildland urban-interface areas safer from wildfire. With a good understanding of wildfire hazards and mitigation strategies, we can effectively lower the wildfire risk and the loss of homes in these areas. Our crew are all certified Wildland Firefighters with the knowledge and experience to look at each individual home and treat it from a fire behavior standpoint...not a landscaper standpoint!
Experts believe that trying to control wildfires in urban-interface areas is not working and are shifting their focus on ways to mitigate the exposure to homes, businesses and subdivisions. This starts with you! Understanding wildfire, and living with it, is everyone's job. The chances of firefighters being able to save a home with no treated areas are very slim. You must treat your property as if no firefighters will show up to protect your home. The ever growing size of our wildfires now means that the resources fighting these fires are being spread even thinner. It also puts these firefighters lives in danger when properties are overgrown and untreated! It's time to help those helping you. This is what we do!
Arizona's deadliest wildfire to date. Caused by lightning, it destroyed 8,500 acres and around 129 structures. In this tragic fire we lost 19 of our own firefighters, The Granite Mountain Hotshots.
This blaze erupted in our back yard burning more than 6,500 acres, evacuating almost 500 homes in the Prescott area.