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What You Can Do Around Your Home to Prevent Wildfires?

 What comes to mind when you hear the word “wildfire?” Chances are, you didn’t visualize your own home, because in urban cities like Bellevue, the threat of wildfires seems unrealistic and distant.


wildfires

We live on city-sized lots in neighborhoods lined with paved streets, shared fences and fire hydrants every few hundred feet. Despite this, parts of our community are at risk of wildfires.


Last year, Bellevue firefighters responded to over 200 brush and vegetation fires. Fortunately, none were catastrophic, but they could have been. With climate change exacerbating fire risks, and the Department of Natural Resources predicting a higher-than-average wildfire season west of the Cascades this summer, it’s essential for all of us to be proactive in safeguarding our homes.


Creating a fire safe zone does not mean cutting down trees or eliminating landscaping. It means being strategic; by cutting branches 6-10 feet from the ground and making sure none are overhanging your home’s roof or other structures. This prevents the spread of fire while preserving the health and aesthetics of your tree. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring the effectiveness of your fire-safe zone. Keep the area clear of debris, including dry leaves and fallen branches, which can ignite easily. Implementing fire-smart landscaping practices, such as using mulch made from non-combustible materials, further reduces fire risk.


Additionally, consider replacing current plants with fire resistant variants, often native to the Pacific Northwest.


By taking proactive measures to create a fire safe zone around your urban home, you can significantly reduce the risk of wildfire damage and increase the resilience of your property. Stay vigilant, stay prepared, and prioritize safety above all else.


Remember, even in the Puget Sound region, wildfire dangers are increasing due to climate change. By following these precautions, we can all play a role in keeping our communities safe.  For more information, you can refer to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources wildfire prevention page https://www.dnr.wa.gov/WildfirePrevention.

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