After the recent California wildfires, thousands of homeowners were left with little-to-no hope in terms of salvaging their properties. The flames completely engulfed celebrity mansions, trailer parks, businesses, and ravaged lawns and landscapes up and down the state. Luckily, there are things that these property owners, and anyone else around the country who lives in an area that could be impacted by wildfires, can do.
According to The Orange County Register, California homeowners who avoided the fire carnage or were only minimally affected are starting to firescape their homes right away in hopes of avoiding the next disaster.
Firescaping is a preventative form of landscaping design that focuses on keeping every inch of a property clean and clear of potential fire risks.
“California’s rate of compliance with state fire code is around 10%, which is absolutely horrible,” said Douglas Kent, horticultural expert and author of Firescaping. “Interest in wildfire protection spikes after a fire and then slowly drops off. We are terrible at acting on long-term and ever-present risk. It is the same reason why pre-diabetic people continue to eat poorly, or people talk and text on their phones when driving. And the other reasons for low rates of compliance are clearing a landscape of flammable fuels can be economically and emotionally expensive.”
Of course, many homeowners who were directly affected by the fires are more focused on rebuilding from the ground up, literally. There are three types of topsoil: sand, clay, and loam. For property owners hoping to firescape their land and prevent further fire damage, protecting their property’s soil is an essential first step. That’s because, ironically, rain is actually a major problem after a property suffers fire damage. In dry areas of the country, when rain hits, the landscape is at risk of erosion, which can cause severe topsoil loss and other property damage.
Property owners are encouraged to spread mulch over any burned areas following the fire to prevent erosion and topsoil loss.
According to the VC Star, Ventura County Board of Supervisors have passed an emergency measure dealing with property owners who are focusing on repairing and firescaping their landscapes. The rules involving removal of both nontoxic and toxic debris are aimed at protecting the environment and the general public’s health as firescaping becomes more popular.