Living with Fire - A Guide for Homeowners
Survivable space quiz
- Survivable space is the area between a house and oncoming wildfire where vegetation has been managed to reduce potential for the house to burn and to help firefighters defend the house. The key is to reduce fire intensity as a wildfire nears the house.
- All vegetation around a house is potential fuel for a wildfire. Some kinds of vegetation burn more easily than others. Vegetation can be managed to reduce fire intensity and make it safer and easier for firefighters to defend the house.
- During a major wildfire it is unlikely there will be enough firefighting resources available to defend every home. Firefighters often have to decide which homes they can safely and effectively protect based on survivable space principles. Therefore, the most important action to protect a home can be taken by the landowner BEFORE a wildfire event.
- No. Many homes have attractive, well-vegetated landscape that also serves as survivable space.
- No. Creating survivable space involves routine gardening and landscape maintenance including proper plant selection, pruning, mowing, weeding, plant removal, and irrigation. Common tools are used such as a chain saw, pruning saw, pruning shears, loppers, weed-eater, shovel or rake.
- Survivable space size varies but should equal or exceed the surrounding tree height. See "Creating a survivable space."
- Yes. Investigations indicate that houses with survivable space much more often survive a wildfire and give firefighters a better chance to effectively and safely defend the house.
- No. Under extreme conditions, almost any house can burn. But having a survivable space will significantly improve the odds of your home surviving a wildfire.
- There are various reasons given. Many people believe "It won't happen to me." Or they think the costs and effort outweigh the benefits. Some people just don't have accurate knowledge.