Community Wildfire Safety Planning with 'Firewise'
Prepare for wildfire
Even in temperate western Washington it takes only a few days of summer heat for forests to dry out enough to catch fire. And, in windy conditions wildfires can get out of control quickly. Wildfires burn every year in east King County. In 2013 wildfires consumed 18 acres on Mt. Si and 3 acres near Echo Lake. Fortunately, these fires were controlled before homes were destroyed.
Before wildfire strikes, homeowners can help protect lives and property by creating a fire-adapted space around structures. We offer trainings and free neighborhood consultation sessions in unincorporated King County to help neighbors identify risk factors and develop Firewise Community Fire Safety Plans. By planning ahead communities can help prevent the loss of lives, property and resources to wildfire.
To learn more about how wildfire can affect your community or schedule a free neighborhood fire and emergency planning workshop, contact Linda Vane.
Top 5 Tips for maintaining a wildfire safety zone in the 30 feet around your home
- Use fire-resistant construction materials such as Class-A asphalt shingles, metal and concrete products for your roof.
- Keep blowing embers out of your house. Cover exterior vents with fine (1/8-inch or smaller) mesh.
- Remove all dead plant material from around your home. Rake up dry leaves (under decks and porches too!) and move firewood away from the house. Keep your roof and gutters clear of flammable debris.
- Take out "ladder fuels," vegtation between grass and treetops that can carry fire between foliage and structures. Prune branches that overhang or touch the house.
- Use fire-resistant plants in the garden. Read our list of fire-resistant plants for the Puget Sound Basin (PDF), or search our illustrated online Native Plant Guide for fire-resistant plants.
Outside the 30-foot zone, manage woodlands for forest health. Fire safe forests can also be healthy forests. Forests with sufficient growing space for trees are not only less susceptible to fire, properly managed forests are healthier and more drought tolerant that forests where trees are crowded together with many dead lower limbs or dry brush.
Learn more tips for creating beautiful and fire-safe landscapes from our brochure, Fire Safety Tips for Rural Homeowners, and read our illustrated article in the August 2012 "Fire and Ice" issue of B&B magazine (external link).
See Ciscoe on Fire!
Watch host Ciscoe Morris fight wildfire with flowers in this 20-minute video. Tips on colorful plant choices for fire-resistant landscapes.
Wildfire Risk Assessments
Washington Department of Natural Resources has provided wildfire risk assessments for six areas in King County that were judged to be at high risk for wildfire. These areas include neighborhoods in the greater North Bend, Black Diamond/Green River Gorge, Cumberland, Kanaskat/Selleck, Lake Retreat/Rock Creek, and Snoqualmie Pass communities.
Community fire planning and Firewise in King County are funded in part by Federal funds allocated to counties under the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000.
Firewise Communities/ USA
Firewise is a national program that encourages local solutions for wildfire safety. It is co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, US Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.
This service page is provided by the King County Forestry Program.