Firewise Landscaping is based on the idea of creating a defensible space on you property, with a 30′ zone around your home that is cleared of flammable materials, including your landscape plants, to limit or even prevent the loss of your home and property.
The Firewise program is used in all 50 states and is a cooperative effort between the US Forest Service, US Department of the Interior, the National Association of State Foresters and The National Fire Protection Association.
Here in Texas the people at the Texas Forest Service provide Firewise training. In June of 2010, members of the Wichita and Montague County Master Gardeners Associations spent 3 days at Midwestern State University learning the Firewise Landscaping program to then be able to go into the community and teach homeowners and anyone who is interested the steps to take to help save their homes and property.
Knowing which types of plants to use and in what part of your landscape could mean the difference between having your home go up in flames, or not. Clearing a 30′ wide perimeter around your home, keeping tree limbs pruned and away from the home, clearing gutters of debris, keeping flammable materials away from your home, such as firewood and gas cans and many other easy to do items are well worth your time. Depending on the size of your property, you want to have up to a 100′ space that is cleared and landscaped correctly. Also be sure you street address numbers are clearly visible so Firefighters can find your house.
If there is a wildfire burning in your area, be sure to have prescriptions, important papers, any pets and clothes ready to go if you have to evacuate. Remember, if a MANDATORY evacuation order is issued and you ignore that order, you can be arrested and removed for your own safety. Police and Fire officials need to be fighting fires, not dealing with uncooperative citizens.
Below you will find brochures and links to sites that will give you information about this great program. If you would like to have a Master Gardener come and speak to your group, please contact the Wichita County Extension Service Office at 716-8610.