NWS Jacksonville » Weather Safety » Wildfire Safety


Wildland fires destroy hundreds of homes and acres of land each year. Many people do not realize that proper landscaping techniques can save their homes. Dead shrubs and trees provide fuel for fires and should be removed from your property. Some plants, such as pine trees and palmettos, are more flammable than others. Your local nursery or county extension service will be able to recommend plants and vegetation that are fire-resistant. Create a fire-safe zone around any structure by thinning trees and shrubs within 30 feet. If your home is built in a pine forest, this distance should be increased to 100 feet.

Tips for fire-safe landscape maintenance
  • Remove all dead trees, shrubs, and other vegetation.
  • Replace flammable plants with fire-resistant plants.
  • Rake leaves, dead branches, and twigs.
  • Within 30 feet, prune plants and trees regularly.
  • Beyond 30 feet, remove debris and low branches up to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Irrigate within 100 feet during the dry season.
  • Stack firewood at least 30 feet from your house.
  • Mow grass on a regular basis.
  • Store gasoline and flammable materials properly.
  • Use care when refueling lawn equipment.
Tips for fire-safe landscaping
  • Select plants with high moisture content that resist ignition.
  • Plant hardwood trees and space trees 30 feet apart.
  • Plant drought-tolerant vegetation within 3 feet of structures.
  • Create fire-safe zones with patios, pools, stone walls, or stepping stones.
  • Rocks, mulch, flower beds, and gardens make effective fire breaks.
  • Design shrub or plant groups with 10 to 15 feet separation.

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