Here are a few key steps to a fire-safe landscape:

Clear or trim vegetation from around the house that might encourage fire or allow fire to "leapfrog" to another spot. Foundation plantings especially need to be addressed.

Remove limbs that hang over the roof and any limbs within 15' of your chimney.

Keep the area raked. Leaves are perfect fuel for fires. Remove duff. Duff is a layer of decomposing organic matter that lies below freshly fallen leaves and above the soil. Duff can ignite and smolder unnoticed.

Plant in smaller beds. They are safer than large massed plantings. Space taller plants further apart than shorter ones.

Don't plant trees underneath electrical lines.

Keep dead or diseased trees and pruned or removed.

Don't pile brush. Chip it and use in compost or remove it for disposal.

Use rock and stepping stones for landscape features instead of plants, especially within the defensible space.

Diversify plant selections. This reduces the chance of pests and diseases. Healthy plants are more fire-resistant.

Mow regularly. Grasses should be no taller than 8", especially in the dormant season.

Irrigate plants as well as your water situation allows.

Avoid shrubs, trees and mulches with a high resin content.

Clean debris from gutters and roof. Needles and leaves on the roof and in the gutters provide tinder for blowing sparks.

Use thin layers of mulch; enough to suppress weeds but not enough to smolder for hours.

Maintain all plants by regularly removing dead branches, leaves and needles.

Please keep a close eye on your property as well as your neighbors.

Think Safety-
Develop and practice an evacuation plan in case of an emergency.
Fires don't allow much time to react, so prevention and preparedness are critical.
Talk to all family members and friends about safety issues and concerns.

Red Flag Warning-
A Red Flag Warning means high fire danger with increased probability of a quickly spreading vegetation fire.
A Red Flag Warning is issued by the United States National Weather Service to tell area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire ignition and propagation. A Red Flag Warning may be issued after drought conditions, and when humidity is very low, and especially when high or erratic winds which may include lightning are a factor.

Deputy Pam Robinson
Crime Prevention Team
Hays County Sheriff's Office
512-393-7358 Office
512-393-7368 Fax

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