Low humidity levels and windy conditions too often set the stage for devastating wildfires to develop in the Santa Cruz area, and throughout the state.

While no one can prevent wildfires from occurring, property owners can help to reduce the impact of wildfire on their homes and business through proactive tree trimming, thinning, and brush removal.

If you would like to learn more about using tree trimming to help make your property less susceptible to wildfire, this information can help.

Protecting Structures
Homes and businesses located in areas prone to wildfires may already have some level of heat and fire resistance due to the use of some types of building materials.
Metal roofing, concrete board siding, masonry walls, fire-resistant window glass, and glass blocks are all designed to withstand heat and contact with flame for longer than wood, vinyl, and some other types of building materials.
However, if there are trees located close to those homes or other structures, their ability to resist catching fire can become compromised. When a tree catches fire in close proximity to structures, the level of heat produced may still cause combustion to occur.
Removing trees that are located very close to structures or those that are at risk of falling onto structures during a wildfire scenario is something that property owners should consider as part of their fire protection plan.
Removing Fuel
Another function that tree trimming and clearing can provide in trying to avoid wildfire or lessen the risk of damage from one is to remove as much available fuel as possible. Clearing brush, deadfall, and layers of fallen leaves from the ground to create at least a 30′ perimeter of clear space around structures is recommended to reduce available fuel and work to slow approaching flames, should a wildfire occur.
In addition to reducing fuel on the ground, property owners should consider having low hanging branches removed, so that approaching flames are less likely to ignite the body of the tree and create the potential for the fire to jump from tree to tree.
Hedges and other bushes that are located close to homes and structures should also be considered for removal due to the possibility that they could burst into flame from exposure to heat and worsen the effects of the fire.
Thinning Timber
Property owners who have areas of thick forest on their property may want to consider selectively removing some of their trees. Creating and maintaining at least a 10′ space between the canopies of each tree will help to force the flames to move more slowly and lessen fire risk.
As a bonus, selective removal of some of the trees in thickly wooded spaces can also be beneficial to the growth and development of the remaining trees. Removing smaller trees means less crowding and competition for available water and nutrients, as well as greater exposure to sunshine.
Selecting Wisely
Some types of trees are more prone to catching fire than others. Trees that are classified as conifers, including cedars, pines, firs, and junipers, have an oily sap that catches fire easily.
In addition, the needles of a conifer tree are thin and subject to becoming very dry and brittle when humidity levels are low. Because of their highly flammable qualities, property owners may want to consider removing some or all of their conifers and replacing them with deciduous trees and shrubbery that are not as likely to catch fire.
Limiting fire risk has never been more important for those who live in or around the Santa Cruz area. At Community Tree Service, Inc., we understand the role that expert tree trimming and clearing can play in protecting homes and businesses from the threat of wildfire. Call us today and we will help you determine existing problem areas and devise a trimming and clearing plan to address them.