|Fight Fire with Landscaping
Clean up: Create a safety zone around your home. Remove anything that can easily burn, including dense or dry vegetation, tall grass and lumber scraps, to a distance at least 30 feet away. If the land slopes away from your house, the distance should be 100 feet, and if vegetation is dense, make it 200 feet. Get rid of dead vegetation, particularly any material close to the house.
Trees: Shrubs and trees are fine in your yard if they are well-spaced, watered and properly pruned of dead or low-hanging limbs. Canopies on trees within 30 to 50 feet of a home should be at least 15 feet apart from each other, and overhanging branches should be 10 feet away from your chimney. Also make sure there are no tree limbs hanging over your garage or over power lines. Avoid planting pines and junipers near your home. They are particularly quick to ignite.
Plants: Some plants, such as succulents, are fire-resistant and can actually slow a fire. In Southern California, for instance, ivy geranium, thyme, capeweed and carpet bugle are excellent choices to place near homes, while scotch broom acts like conduit when the air is dry. Many species of acacia and eucalyptus are quite flammable because of their oils and resins. Check with your state's cooperative extension office for information on fire-fighting plants that grow well in your region.