Fire season is here in Southern California. Creative Concepts Landscape is mindful that we live in an area where wildfires are a part of life and have consequences for the way we all develop landscapes. Our service area, centered around the Crescenta Valley and the hills of northeastern Los Angeles, is prone to large fires.
The mountains and hills around Los Angeles are beautiful, but are unfortunately also prone to wildfires
Although these fires, generally, do not make it to the most densely populated neighborhoods (thank you, LAFD!), we all must be aware of the potential danger. This means, if we live in an area with a potential fire hazard, we should prepare, as best we can, for that tragic possibility.
Creative Concepts Landscape can help with this in a few ways:
- Landscape cleanups – keep the property clean to reduce plant material that can become a fire hazard
- Landscape installations – install landscapes that are low in water usage and low in plant material ‘fuel load’ for wildfires
- Landscape maintenance – regularly keep landscapes clean with trimmed, separated, and healthy plants to reduce potential fire hazards
I will get into more details of how Creative Concepts Landscape will help reduce fire hazards, but first, let’s take a look at the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s requirements for fire preparedness.
Owners of property located in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) shall maintain their property in accordance with the Fire Code (L.A.M.C. 57.322). Year-round compliance shall be maintained as described below on all native brush, weeds, grass, trees and hazardous vegetation within 200 feet of any structures/buildings, whether those structures are on the owner’s property or adjoining properties, and within 10 feet of any combustible fence or roadway/driveway used for vehicular travel.
- Areas within 200 feet of structures and/or 10 feet of roadside surfaces or combustible fence: Grass shall be cut to three inches in height. Native brush shall be reduced in quantity to three inches in height. This does not apply to individual native shrubs spaced a minimum of 18 feet apart, provided such shrubs are trimmed up from the ground to 1/3 of their height with all dead material being removed (see diagram below).
- For trees taller than 18 feet, trim lower branches so no foliage is within six feet of the ground, and remove all dead material. For trees and shrubs less than 18 feet, remove lower branches to 1/3 of their height, and remove all dead material (see diagram below).
- Trees shall be trimmed up so the foliage is no closer than 10 feet from the outlet of a chimney .
- All roof surfaces shall be maintained free of substantial accumulation of leaves, needles, twigs and any other combustible matter. Maintain five feet of vertical clearance between roof surfaces and portions of overhanging trees (see diagram below).
- All cut vegetation and debris shall be removed in a legal manner. Cut vegetation may be machine processed (i.e., chipped) and spread back onto the property at a depth not to exceed three inches within 30 feet of structures and six inches beyond 30 feet of structures. In addition, spread material shall not be placed within 10 feet of any usable roadside (in accordance with Fire Prevention Bureau Procedure No. 25)
How Creative Concepts Landscape Can Help
- Trim plants throughout the property – this will not only improve the aesthetics of your landscape plants, but it will also reduce the amount of potential fire fuel
- Separate landscape plants – as plants get larger, their branches often grow into each other, creating dense areas of intermeshed plant material. Sometimes this is desirable, but often this creates not only an untidy appearance, but also potential fire hazards. Creative Concepts Landscape will properly trim and separate your landscape plants from one another, as needed.
- Remove dead and unhealthy branches – During our cleanups, we will remove all dead branches and plants from your property. This, again, will lessen the potential fire hazard fuel load and create a more pleasing aesthetic.
Periodic cleanups help keep plants healthy
- Creative Concepts Landscape will design and install a water efficient landscape that minimizes potential fire hazard. If too many plants are installed with poor irrigation, those plants will die, creating a dry potential fire hazard.
- Efficient irrigation systems not only save water
A new landscape installation on a hillside – reducing potential plant material fuel for fires
- Creative Concepts Landscape will regularly keep your landscape clean, with trimmed, separated, and healthy plants to reduce potential fire hazards.
- We will also check and repair your irrigation system, keeping it running efficiently with proper water coverage keeping your landscape plants alive.
Landscapes can be full and lush, as long as they receive proper irrigation to keep them from drying out creating a fire hazard
Wildfire safety is something we all should be aware of, as unpleasant as it might be to contemplate. Although there is no way to completely negate the potential dangers of a wildfire in our Southern California landscape, Creative Concepts Landscape can help to lesson some of the risks.
By Daniel Williams
Client Laison for Creative Concepts Landscape