Master Gardeners Can Help You Prevent Fires

USDA-supported extension Master Gardeners offer advice and planning tips to keep your homestead fire safe.

by Dani Yokhna
A master gardener can help you plan your landscape

Find a Master Gardener The best place to find a master gardener near you is to contact your cooperative extension office.

Contact information for your state’s Master Gardener program is also available through

More than 90,000 Extension Master Gardener volunteers are available to the general public through locally-based programs across the United States, according to the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES). For more information, visit

If you live in a fire-prone part of the country, your local master gardener can help you prevent fires and protect your homestead.

The U.S. Department of Agriculure (USDA)-supported Master Gardeners–to find yours, contact your local cooperative extension office–teach homeowners how to plan ahead and prevent fires by using:

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  • less flammable plants
  • removing combustible materials
  • properly spacing trees

Create Defensible Space
To prevent fires, the University of California Master Gardener program recommends creating a “defensible space” of 100 feet around your home.

A defensible space is:

  • an area around a structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire toward buildings.

This space also reduces the chance of fire moving from a building to the surrounding landscape.

Defensible space should include:

  • a plant-free zone of 30 feet surrounding your home
  • a reduced-fuel zone with open spaces between plants extending another 70 feet.

If your home is on a steep slope or in a windswept area, an even larger zone is needed for protection.

More helpful tips include:

  • using wide spaces between plants near your house
  • planting in small, irregular clusters or islands
  • using decorative rock, gravel and stepping stone to break up vegetation and fuels
  • incorporating a diversity of plants into your landscape

~  USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES)


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