Firewise Landscaping Can Keep Your Property Safe

They may be called wildfires, but they can turn domestic in an instant.  But you *can get ready for fires in your area.  According to Nick Harrison, with the Texas Forest Service, the Firewise Landscaping course has specific goals:

"To make folks aware of what they can do around their own property to create defensible space or survivable space," he said.

He's been teaching a course all day at The Forum to help people know what to do to keep flames and fuel as far away from their homes as possible.

"These practices apply to folks in the country or whether they live in the suburban areas that are adjacent to wild land areas," he said.

Pearl Carter just recently had three trees cut down because they were too close to her house.  She's planning on doing more after today's firewise course.

 "Probably the first thing I'll do is go home and get a fire guard built around the house," she said.

And there are plenty of ways to do just that.  Because most wooden fences go right up to your house, it's a good idea to get rid of dry fuel -- like leaves -- that's sitting in front of your fence and replace it with a gravel barrier.  Or, you can create a barrier by mowing the grass all the way down to the dirt around your fence.

Other tips: keep firewood at least 30 feet clear of your home, trim the bottom of your evergreen trees a few feet up, and use wire mesh covers on outdoor vents to prevent embers from getting in.

"Property can be replaced.  We don't want any homes lost, but we don't want any lives lost, so we want people prepared in that respect," Harrison said.

As for Pearl, she'll be sharing what she learns with her neighbors.

"I just couldn't stand the thought of anybody losing a house or their lives.  It's very frightening," she said.

For more firewise landscaping tips, click here.

Spencer Blake, Newschannel 6