The Real Deal Los Angeles

Here’s how to use landscaping to protect your home from fires

Experts recommend succulents over overflowing, draping vines
November 23, 2018 08:00AM

Fire pros and landscaping experts are coming up with ways to protect homes from the flames. (Credit: iStock)

A manicured, lush front yard can add a lot to a home’s curb appeal and value. But it can also add fuel to a fire, putting a residence at more risk.

With the latest wave of devastating wildfires burning tens of thousands of acres across the state, fire pros and landscaping experts are coming up with ways to protect homes from the flames.

One place to start would be by creating an open “defensible space” around the home, Robert Walton, who works for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, told the Los Angeles Times.

A defensible space means there are no shrubs or greenery growing against the house. Rather, there should be about five feet of distance surrounding the house, which can be accomplished with concrete walkways.

Drought-tolerant grasses, such as buffalo grass, are also highly encouraged as they serve as a firebreak. Plants that are high in moisture, like succulents, are also a good bet.

What to avoid: flammable plants, such as arborvitae and junipers.

Landscaping isn’t the only option when protecting against fires. The manufacturers behind a building material dubbed RSG 3-D are advocating the product could prevent some of the major destruction caused by wildfires. Its “cementitious sandwich panel” system is more fire-resistant than wood, and has been used in NASA spacecrafts.

In Southern California, the Woolsey fire burning in L.A. and Ventura counties has destroyed 1,500 structures. It was 96 percent contained as of Tuesday. [LAT]Natalie Hoberman