Cost-Effective Strategies to Defend Against Wildfires

Cost-Effective Strategies to Defend Against Wildfires

As wildfires become increasingly common and severe, protecting your home and property is more crucial than ever. Being fire smart involves understanding the primary threats and taking proactive measures to mitigate these risks. Here are key considerations and practical steps to fire smart your property.

Understanding the Threat

  • Embers and Sparks are responsible for over 80% of home ignitions during wildfires, hot embers are a significant threat, they can travel long distances, over a KM is not uncommon.
  • Wildfires generate intense heat that can ignite materials without direct contact with flames.
  • Wildfires create their own wind, which can spread flames and embers quickly, far and wide. Addressing fire hazards far beyond the immediate vicinity of your home is essential.

Avoid Highly Flammable Materials

A Fire-Smart yard involves making informed choices about your plants, shrubs, grass, and mulch. Opting for fire-resistant plants and materials can significantly increase your home’s chances of surviving a wildfire.

  • Bark Mulch & Pine Needles: These are highly flammable. Pea gravel, decorative rocks, or leafy green ground cover plants are better choices.
  • Woody Debris: Remove any woody debris, including mulch or wood chips, which can provide places for fires to start.
  • Shrubs: Familiarize yourself with what shrubs & plants are most flammable. Remove & plant accordingly. Planting shrubs against the homes should be avoided.  Junipers, cedar hedges & decorative grasses such as cat tails are examples of highly flammable material.
  • Trees: Are a beautiful addition to any yard just keep in mind that evergreen trees are more susceptible to fire than leaf trees.
  • Tall Grass: Field grass, dry material around base of trees & surrounding ditches are  

Create Space :

  • Maintain at least a 1.5-meter non-flammable zone around your entire home, out buildings and any attachments such as decks to help prevent fire from touching the base of  your structures.
  • Space trees at least 3 meters apart to reduce the risk of fire moving from tree to tree.
  • Firewood piled against your house is a major fire hazard. Move firewood and any lumber piles 10-30 meters away from your home or store them in an enclosed building that has been cleared of flammables outside.
  • Place burn barrels and fire pits far from structures and trees, keeping the area within 3 meters free of combustible material. Ensure proper ventilation and screen with 6mm or finer wire mesh. ***Check local regulations regarding fire pits and obtain necessary permits.

Essential On-Site Tools

Equip your home with easy to access fire suppression tools and ensure everyone in the family knows where they are located.

  • Shovels
  • Rakes
  • Axes
  • Garden hoses
  • Sprinklers
  • Ladders
  • Water barrel
  • Buckets

Regular Maintenance

  •  Prepare your yard in the spring so you only have light upkeep to maintain a fire-safe yard during fire season… enjoy the summer fun!!!
  • Once the yard is prepared make a schedule to remind yourself to clear dry leaves, twigs, and branches from your yard, decks, clear under the deck too and gutters.
  • If your lawn or surrounding grass cannot be kept lush and green be sure to keep it trimmed short. Fire travels much slower over short grass & can give you and emergency professionals some much needed time to regain control.

Tree Management

  • Older deciduous trees ( trees with leaves) may have rot or damage, making them susceptible to fire. Remove & trim any dead or dying limbs.
  • Remove branches within 2 meters of the ground to prevent surface fires from climbing into the treetops. Prune trees within 30 meters of your home, ideally extending to 100 meters if possible.


Fire moves faster uphill. Homes on hills or at the top of slopes face greater risk. Extra measures like removing trees , planting fire-resistant plants and adding non combustible ground cover like rock can be helpful.

***Be sure to consider slope stability before removing any trees.


By understanding the primary threats and implementing these practices, you can reduce the risk to your home and property. Regular maintenance, smart landscaping, and proper fire preparedness can make all the difference. Stay proactive and vigilant to protect your home and loved ones from the devastating effects of wildfires.

Bev Burk
Cell: (250) 833-6953
Office : (250) 675-2317