City Of Sparks

Defensible Space

LIVING IN NEVADA MEANS LEARNING TO LIVE IN AN ENVIRONMENT THAT BURNS

 As our community moves closer and closer to the wildland urban interface - the area where the "city" meets open land - there are practical and specific steps you can take to protect your home from wildfires. 
 
Defensible Space is the area around your home where the vegetation has been modified to reduce the fire threat.  The size of a home's defensible space varies, depending upon property size, location, and topography.  Sometimes a defensible space is simply a homeowner's properly maintained backyard.  Yet another property owner might need to provide over 200 feet of defensible space around their property.  To calculate an effective defensible space for your home, go to http://www.livingwithfire.info/.  Click on "before the fire" and then go to the "defensible space" section.  Please explore this website.  It will give you great information on many aspects of how to protect your home from wildland fire.
 
The purpose of defensible space is two-fold.  A properly designed defensible space can provide our firefighters with a safe place from which to defend your home from an approaching wildland fire.  At the same time, homes with adequate defensible space are more likely to survive a wildland fire, even without firefighter assistance.
 
The Sparks Fire Department would like to encourage you to create a defensible space around your home.  You can do this by implementing the three "R's" into your landscaping design: Removal, Reduction, and Replacement.  Remove dead or flammable vegetation.  Reduce vegetation by pruning or mowing.  Providing space between plants and trees removes the continuous fuel bed that might otherwise exist throughout your yard.  The more continuous and dense the vegetation in your yard, the greater the wildfire threat to your home.  Replace flammable vegetation with less hazardous choices.  Shorter plants are better than taller plants, and non-woody plants are better than evergreens or junipers.
 
It is also important for the safety of our firefighters, should they respond to a wildland fire in your area, that your address is clearly posted and readily visible from the street, and that the street signs are posted and unobstructed.  Clear vegetation along both sides of your driveway; and, if your driveway is longer than 150 feet, a turnaround suitable and large enough for fire equipment is required.
 
As more and more of us move into what was formerly open spaces, it becomes increasingly important that we work together, as neighbors, to keep our homes, our subdivisions, and our communities safe.  Ideally, we should all have appropriate defensible space around our homes.  If you and your neighbors would like help organizing, planning, applying for grant money, and implementing a fire safe neighborhood plan, the Nevada Fire Safe Council can help.  The Nevada Fire Safe Council is a non-profit membership based organization whose mission is to assist local groups who are willing to take the necessary action to improve the survivability of their neighborhoods and communities.  For further information, please visit their website at www.nvfsc.org.
 
For more information on wildland fire safety visit http://www.firewise.org/.
 
If you have questions or would like clarification on any of this information, please do not hesitate to contact the Sparks Division of Fire Prevention at 353-2266.

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