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Pruning Trees for Fire Safety

Tree pruning may be something you think of as a cosmetic procedure or just a common maintenance technique but there are other benefits to pruning trees. Pruning does help to keep the tree strong and healthy but can also be vital to fire safety. Regular pruning and care can prevent fires from spreading.

First you need to identify what the problem areas of a tree are and the health of a tree to determine if the tree is susceptible to fire. Branches that are leafless or losing an excessive amount of leaves can be a risk. Falling limbs that are brittle or dry and noticeable rot are all concerns. Dying trees are especially susceptible to fire and need to be dealt with quickly.

Tree spacing is also important for keeping fire risks low. Vertical spacing is one of the areas to consider. Ladder fuels are a big concern when it comes to fire safety, a ladder fuel is when trees or vegetation create a link between the ground and the treetops. Horizontal spacing is also important and is vital to keeping trees from starting a house or structure fire. Trees should ideally be 10 feet from other trees and structures. When on a slope the recommendation for spacing changes to allow each tree a clear space to stop the spread of a fire.

Defensible space is a term that comes up in fire safety and is a guideline for safeguarding your home from fire. The defensible space acts as a buffer zone to keep your home safe from wildfires. The defensible space should be clear of thick vegetation to slow down the spread of a fire. With in 30 feet of structures you will want to keep the space clear of dead or dry vegetation, keep trees trimmed and away from the structure and keep a space between plants and other flammable items like a shed or furniture. In the area 30 to 100 feet from structures you will want to create both vertical and horizontal spacing. Keep grass short and remove any material that can be used as fuel for a fire.

Keeping trees trimmed and the area around your home clear can help prevent a fire from spreading to your home.

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