By: Brenda Keen
One way to keep your home safe from fire is to landscape around your home with plants that are “Firewise.”
Plants that are used next to the home should be fire-resistant as well as the mulch we use. When thinking about fire resistant plants, think about the amount of oil contained in the plant structure or leaves of the plant. Plants such as junipers, arborvitaes, leland cypress, ect. are highly flammable because they have higher oil content, so when you are using these plants to landscape, plant them away from your home.
There are many plants that are low in flammability. A few examples are nandinas, butterfly bushes, oak leaf hydrangeas, foster holly, and gardenias just to name a few.
Keep these in mind when planting next to your home. There are resources that can be pulled on the internet to provide you with a more complete list of Firewise plants.
When you develop and maintain a fire safe area around your home, be sure to remove limbs from trees that are overhanging onto your roof. Also, if there are limbs that are close to a chimney these would also need to be removed. If there is other debris that might build up over the winter on your roof such as leaves, pine needles and small limbs, these would also need to be removed.
One thing we sometimes don’t do to keep our homes safe is to create a “defensible space” around our home. To create this Firewise space, you need 30 feet on each side of your home that is free and clear of debris. When this area is clean, you have an area that will help protect you and your home from wildfires.
Keep firewood at least 30 feet from your home or storage building. You will also need to keep vegetation clear for at least 10 feet around your LP.0 tanks. Another item to think about concerning your LPG tank is that your tank should be a minimum of 30 feet from your house as well.
When planting trees in the landscape, make sure to avoid planting them under or near electrical lines. Years down the road as trees mature, they may grow into or contact the electrical lines in windy conditions or during storms and cause a fire.
Always remember when burning to make certain that our county is not under a bum ban.
You can check to see if there is a ban by contacting the local fire department. Windy days are not recommended for burning.
Your gutters should be free and clear of debris. You will need to check and clean them
several times during the year because this is an easy place for a spark to ignite.This week we have covered ways to develop and maintain a fire safe landscape around your home. Also in this edition, we will cover ways to make sure emergency personnel can locate and get to your home.
If you would like to have a Firewise meeting conducted, please contact Brenda Keen at 662-242-5173. Firewise is sponsored in partnership with the Winston County Board of Supervisors and the Mississippi State Extension Service, Winston County.