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Fire in wooded area

Can A Landscape Be Fire-Wise, While Still Achieving Other Goals?

As we hit the peak of the springtime dry season in Florida, it is a time to be extra-aware of wildfire risks. Due to rainy weather in April 2018, we have been fortunate to have few wildfires (so far) this year. However, May 2018 is getting off to a dry start. Pasco County Fire Rescue’s social media page recently noted an increase in brush fires, and they’ve reminded residents to be fire-wise around our homes and landscapes.

Achieving multiple goals

Now that wildfire season is swinging into high-gear, if you live in an area at-risk from wildfires, you may want to review recommendations about “fire-wise” landscape principles, such as maintaining a “defensible space” around the home.

Pasco County Fire Rescue recently shared this graphic on social media illustrating firewise tips.

 

For homeowners who attempt to achieve multiple goals with their landscape choices (wind-resistance, energy savings, water savings, etc.), adding yet another layer of recommendations can sometimes seem overwhelming, especially when tips from one list appear to conflict with the recommendations of another.

A team at UF/IFAS recognized this struggle, and decided to try to reconcile the recommendations for multiple different landscaping goals. For instance, does a homeowner need to choose between having water-wise landscape beds vs. maintaining a defensible space?

In the Fire in the Wildland-Urban Interface series, the authors attempted to help establish priorities and compare recommendations for various goals such as:

  • Wildlife Habitat Creation or Enhancement
  • Water Conservation
  • Energy Conservation
  • etc…

They also help to identify plant characteristics and maintenance strategies that would increase or decrease wildfire risk.

To read the Fire in the Wildland-Urban Interface recommendations, see: Reducing Wildfire Risk While Achieving Other Landscaping Goals  and  Selecting and Maintaining Firewise Plants for Landscaping.

NOTE for viewing on mobile devices: If you’re have trouble opening the above firewise links, you might try these links to the pdf versions instead. Be patient, as the pdf’s may take a minute to load.

“Reducing Wildfire Risk While Achieving Other Landscaping Goals” http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FR/FR16200.pdf

“Selecting & Maintaining Firewise Plants for Landscaping” http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/FR/FR14700.pdf


For further reading on a few of the other design goals mentioned above, see:

Drought-tolerant, or “water-wise” landscapes:

 

Reducing home energy bills through landscape design (using passive shading/cooling, etc.)

 

About UF/IFAS Extension:

UF/IFAS Extension serves as a source of non-biased, research-based information for the residents, businesses, and communities of Florida, providing educational materials and programs for adults and youth. We proudly “provide solutions for your life.”

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