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How to keep your Idaho property fire ready

During summer in Idaho, a yellow-shirted firefighter is a common sight, as is the smoke that fills the Treasure Valley and mountain towns when the big fires are burning. Many homes in Idaho are actually built in what is termed the Wildland Urban Interface Overlay Zone. That means, they are in an area that can be affected when wildfire comes.

Homeowners in these zones need to take an active roll every year to safeguard their property against loss to wildfire. The home itself and everything around it up to 100-200 feet is known as the ‘home ignition zone.’ In areas where the risk of wildfire is high, the home ignition zone extends up to 200 feet beyond the actual home structure. Here are some tips on how to create a defensible space in the home ignition zone.

Zone 1 to 3 = the house to 200 feet out:

  • Plants near structure must be carefully spaced, low-growing non-burning
  • Mow regularly. Prune trees up six to ten feet from the ground
  • Space conifers 30 feet between crowns. Trim back or remove trees overhanging house
  • Create a ‘fire-free’ area within five feet of the home
  • Remove dead vegetation from under deck and within 10 feet of house
  • Fire-resistant roofing, siding, decks, patio furniture, swing sets, etc.
  • Do not locate firewood stacks and propane tanks within 30 feet of structures
  • Water regularly
  • Consider xeriscaping
  • Create fire breaks with lawns, driveways, gravel
  • Annually remove weeds, dead growth & trees
  • Clean gutters, remove leaves and nests from roof areas

Last but not least, have a well-planned, well-rehearsed evacuation plan, so you, your loved ones and your animals can stay calm and leave safely when fire threatens your property. And be sure your property is accessible by fire crews after you leave.

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