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How close is too close? Fire Mitigation 101

Fire Mitigation 101

On average more than 100,000 wildfires rage through U.S.’s western states, including Colorado, each year. 

You can protect your home and other property by creating a defensible space — a radius free from flammable trees, branches, and plants — and incorporating fire-resistant vegetation into your landscaping. 

Prune Trees

Trees should be pruned to remove deadwood and lower hanging branches.

For trees within 30 to 70 feet of your home or property, lower branches should be pruned to a height of 8 feet from the ground and branches should reach no less than 8 feet from a roof or 10 feet from a chimney.

Highly flammable plants and trees — including coniferous varieties, such as pine, spruce and fir — should be removed if less than 30 feet from your home or property. 

Yard Clean-up

Remove pine needles and other ground litter, including dead leaves

Stack firewood at least 30 feet from your home

Mow dry grass and weeds to a low height.

Plant Fire-Resistant Trees 

Fire-resistant trees contain lots of moisture, which reduces their risk of contributing to a fire.

When planting fire-resistant trees, ensure you space your trees at least 10 feet away from each other (or more if you’re on a slope) and at least 30 feet from your home to correctly reduce wildfires from spreading.

“If your site receives enough moisture to grow them, plant deciduous trees such as aspen or narrow-leaf cottonwood. These species, even when planted in dense clumps, generally do not burn well, if at all. The greatest problem with these trees is the accumulation of dead leaves in the fall. Remove accumulations close to structures as soon as possible after leaf drop.” — Colorado State University Extension

Other fire-resistant trees include: 

Crabapple: A small ornamental tree with stunning flowers that pollinators love

Hawthorn: Flowers in the spring, small fruit produced, most varieties contain small thorns

Honeylocust: A strong, fast-growing shade tree that can be up to 70 feet tall

Stay Informed

During wildfire season, you can stay updated on the progress of any fires burning in your area with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control’s interactive wildfire map

Creating and maintaining a defensible space not only helps protect your home, but also protects your neighbors as well!


Sources and text: resources linked above and Davey Tree