The Importance of Protecting Your Home Through Firescaping
Douglas Kent, the author of Firescaping: Protecting Your Home with a Fire-Resistant Landscape, talks to us about the devastating effects of wildfires and the importance of fire-safe and firescaped communities.
Tens of thousands of wildfires burn across the country every year, destroying millions of acres of land. If you live in fire country, take action. Use firescaping to defend your home against wildfires, while maintaining the beauty of your garden.
Conflagrations are consuming lives, structures, and acres throughout the United States. Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington are setting records. Americans are becoming increasingly terrorized by wildfire.
And it is not just the United States. Australia, Canada, Chile, Germany, Madagascar, Russia, Spain, sub-Saharan Africa, and even Ireland are also being overrun.
Scientists, fire professionals, and ecologists such as myself now believe the worst is still ahead. Megafires, firestorms, and fire tornados are becoming a yearly phenomenon. The two primary reasons driving the increase in ferocity and loss are well known:
1. A warming planet: Higher temperatures create drier, more ignitable landscapes. Warming also increases the likelihood of fire weather: exceptionally hot, windy days with low humidity have increased in frequency in recent years.
2. More structures in fire country: Rural used to mean a few hundred people living in the hills; now it means a few thousand. According to fire experts, there are more than 46 million homes representing a population of more than 100 million in high-fire-hazard areas in the United States. Sixty percent of all new homes are being built in fire country.
But climate change does not wholly explain the intensity of modern wildfires. People have a profound impact too. Air pollution has changed historic patterns of fire. Decades of wildfire suppression have led to enormous fuel loads, and compliance with brush-clearance laws is dismally low.
Firescaping can absolutely help you create a safer environment. This book has been designed as a series of prioritized checklists. The primary priorities are:
- Ensuring an effective rate of travel. Lives are lost when poor roads hinder both fleeing and fighting.
- Defending a home or business from an assault of flying embers, the leading cause of structure loss during a wildfire.
- Maintaining a property so that it does not spread and grow a wildfire.
- Creating safer neighborhoods through effective vegetation management.
- Quickly recovering after a wildfire passes, reducing the likelihood of soil slides, topsoil loss, and the damage that comes with both.
Fire-safe and firescaped communities save lives, protect economic resiliency, improve public health, preserve valuable resources, and are able to swiftly recover.
Firescaping: Protecting Your Home with a Fire-Resistant Landscape is available from the AdventureKEEN imprint Wilderness Press. If you enjoyed this post, sign up for our newsletter now!