Battling wildfires with ‘lean, clean, green’

Kristin Babbs with Keep Oregon Green said it's never been more important for people to create a defensible space around your home

A tree burns during a widlfire in Oregon in this undated file photo (KOIN)
A tree burns during a widlfire in Oregon in this undated file photo (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — “Wild land fire follows the fuel, whether it’s grass, shrubs, trees or your house.”

Kristin Babbs with Keep Oregon Green said it’s never been more important for people to create a defensible space around your home than right now, as wildfire season gets underway.

A defensible space — a 30-foot buffer around your entire house, can and do prevent wildfires.

“Consider it your circle of safety,” Babbs said. “It’s the area we want to keep lean, clean and green.”

Look at your overall landscaping, she said. Trim plant to keep them low to the ground. Remove any combustible material from around your home. Keep your lawn mowed to 4 inches from the ground. And water all your plants.

“It is important to keep plants well-watered right now. Even if they’re fire resistant they can become a fire risk right now,” she told KOIN 6 News.

Kristin Babbs of Keep Oregon Green, May 6, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Kristin Babbs of Keep Oregon Green, May 6, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

She also said certain “types of plants are extremely volatile,” such as arbavida, juniper and cypress. Their aromatic and waxy leaves make them highly flammable.

Babbs suggests removing them.

The most vulnerable place in your house is your roof. Babbs said to make sure your roof and your gutters are clear.

“It’s extremely vulnerable to embers,” she said. “Hot embers that fly through the air a mile ahead of the fire and can land in those places smolder and ignite.”

But, she said, if you do your work creating a defensible space, you likely won’t ever see that happen.

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