Restoration for Home Owners
Many people live in the upland forests of the Southwest for its mild weather, beautiful scenery, and recreation opportunities. But, living in this idyllic landscape also means living with fire, which has played a natural role in the forests of the West for millions of years. As people push further into natural areas that historically experience frequent fire, it is critical that residents and communities work together to be fire adapted. Although much is being done by land managers to restore southwestern forests and reduce the risk of catastrophic fire, residents can and should take action, too, to protect their homes and families.Throughout the West there are homes, subdivisions, and entire communities located in and adjacent to unhealthy and fire-prone forestlands. Evidence shows that restoration treatments, which include the mechanical thinning of excess small trees and the reintroduction of fire through prescribed burns, help reduce the risk of fire in these areas. Forest restoration not only reduces hazardous fuels but it improves wildland health by returning overgrown forests to a more resilient condition, one that can better withstand major disturbances from insects, fire, and changes in climate. Treatments also increase firefighter safety and allow increased tactical fire suppression options that may not be possible in untreated locations. Although firefighters play a key role in safeguarding communities, their resources are limited during extreme fire events. They may not be able to protect every home, especially those where homeowners have taken no proactive steps to increase safety. It is important that homeowners chip in to protect their homes and neighborhoods and help create a Fire Adapted Community. In the end, wildfire safety and home protection starts with the homeowner. While it may not be possible to be 100 percent fireproof, what you do around your home and surrounding property can mean the difference between damage, loss, or survival.This guide is intended to provide homeowners with information to help reduce wildfire risk while also promoting a healthier and more sustainable environment. This guide will help you determine whether your home and property are in danger of ignition, and provide actionable steps and resources to reduce that risk. It will also provide tips on choosing fire-resistant plants and landscape designs that conserve water and provide wildlife habitat.