When should someone start planning for fire safety and preparedness during the landscaping process?
Planning for fire safety is not only important it is mandated here in Southern California. In order to pass inspections, all landscapes must be fire-wise and maintained for safety. Brush must be cleared annually and any plants that are not maintained properly can become a potential threat to a structure. LDI has many resources that we utilize to maintain safety and ensure plant material is installed properly meeting CA State regulations on selected specimens. To see a list of those approved plants you can also visit the links proved below. LDI and ELM maintain the highest standards in following state regulations, we start at the top to ensure all projects meet the highest standards set up by the state and for the safety of our clients and the environment.
Can you give us a brief description of what is Fuel Modification and why is it so important? Especially here in Southern California.
The Fuel Modification plan consists of Zones A, B, and C. These zones are drawn as concentric circles around each structure extending to the property line. Zone A extends from the outer edge of the structure or appendage to 30 feet. Zone B extends from the edge of Zone A to 100 feet from the structure. Zone C extends from the edge of Zone B to 200 feet from the structure, or to the property line. In dealing with zones and fire safety it is important to consider the plant material that is installed and how large it can grow. Some plants are more fire-resistant then others as well, so it is also important to be knowledgeable when considering plant material for a project. To learn more about Fuel Modification and see the list of approved plant material and zone specifications please visit https://fire.lacounty.gov/forestry-fuel-modification/
What happens after a fire? What are the first steps in the remediation of the land?
Cleaning up your site after a fire has happened is very important. There are many hazards to consider and getting the job done right and to the highest standards is very important for the stabilization of the property and safety of those surrounding it. Fire season is very real here in California and if you are at the effects of fires then you know the damages that can take place to the land. After fire season ends the rains will come if we are lucky and fire-scorched land is not going to absorb water as well as a fully landscaped property. Water will run off and cause even more damage to an already brittle ecosystem. It is important to contract those with a vast knowledge of best landscape practices and mitigation expertise. LDI has assisted in many fire mitigation projects, from the Woolsey and Thomas fires recently to the Getty Center fires along the 405 freeway. We have the know-how to restore these fire scorched lands and ensure the property will be revitalized to the highest Fuel Mod specifications in the landscape industry.
What is the number one way you feel we can help prevent fires?
By consulting and hiring landscape professionals you can gain the peace of mind that your property meets the highest standards in fire safety. From the initial design and plant selections to the construction and installation of the materials, proper irrigation and maintenance of your property we cover it all and get it done right! Fire safety and prevention is very important to us here at LDI not only for our clients but for the entire state of CA, we deliver safety and regulation approved landscapes. Our team of professionals carries with them 40 years of experience which can help you prevent fires.
For more information on best Landscape practices for fire safety please visit the links below:
The Fuel Modification Unit is responsible for the approval of a landscape plan for structures located in the Fire Hazard Severity Zones. The process of approval consists of reviewing aspects such as structure location and type of construction, topography, slope, amount, and arrangement of vegetation, and overall site settings. Our objective through this approval plan process is to create defensible space necessary for effective fire protection of homes in the Fire Hazard Severity Zones
The full list of plant selections to ensure your landscape meets safety guidelines mandated by the state
- Create a defensible space perimeter by thinning trees and ornamental vegetation within 30 feet of your home. Beyond 30 feet, remove dead wood, debris, and low tree branches.
- Create fire-safe zones with stone walls, patios, swimming pools, decks, and roadways.
- Remove dead trees, shrubs, and grasses surrounding your home. Dead vegetation can act as fuel for the fire.
- Eliminate small trees and plants growing under larger trees. They allow ground fires to jump into tree crowns.
- Irrigate and maintain ornamental plants to reduce the risk of ignition. With proper irrigation and maintenance, plants are less receptive to ignition by embers or radiant heat. Keep plants green during the dry season. It serves as a protective “green belt.”
- Hardwood, maple, poplar, and cherry trees are less flammable than pine and fir trees. If possible, plant less-flammable trees around your property.
- Regularly trim annual weeds and grasses up to 100 feet around your home.
Brush clearing should be complete every year by June 1
*NEW BRUSH CLEARANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR LOS ANGELES*
The state of California has seen an increase in the frequency and size of wildfires, including historic brushfires in the city of Los Angeles such as the La Tuna, Creek, and Skirball fires. Additionally, smaller brushfires have been accidentally started by well-intentioned residents performing brush clearance. Therefore, the Los Angeles City Council has approved an ordinance to increase requirements for brush clearance and fire safety in the Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ). This ordinance establishes appropriate safety measures necessary to mitigate the occurrence of such fires.
Highlights of the new ordinance include:
- The use of metal cutting blades for grass or brush clearance shall be limited to those which are non-ferrous/non-sparking.
- Brush clearance cannot be done on red flag days when fire weather conditions are at their peak.
- Individuals engaged in brush clearance operations shall not engage in any other activities during their actual clearance of grass or brush.
- An approved fire extinguisher or a pressurized garden hose with an attached nozzle shall be within 10 feet of any grass or brush clearance operation, to quickly extinguish a small fire before it burns out of control.
- A cell phone capable of dialing 9-1-1 shall be charged and readily accessible to the grass or brush clearance operation.