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What Is Defensible Space?

Picture from Central Oregon Daily

Defensible space is the area between a house and fire that acts as a barrier/buffer and slows the spread. Defensible space is maintained through managing vegetation and making modifications as necessary.

With the fires during the Oregon summers, it's imperative to protect your home and property. So how do you create defensible space? Creating defensible space requires a couple different components: removal of vegetation, modifying vegetation, and creating barriers.

Create a Barrier

A protective barrier of at least 3 feet should surround your home and any other dwellings on your property. This barrier should be gravel, concrete, or could even be mulch. This barrier allows for a defensive mechanism that doesn’t fuel the fire, and helps it to remain away from your home.

Our skid-steer has a bucket as well as a grading attachment, that would allow us to help create this barrier for you. Our machine could spread gravel and level it to make sure that the barrier of your home remains aesthetically pleasing.

Tree Thinning

Keeping trees thinned can help lessen the spread of fire. Trees should be spaced at least 10 feet apart. The branches of the trees should be trimmed so that they are not touching. Branches should also remain at least 10 feet away from your chimney, if the tree resides close to your home. Trees should also be trimmed so there is at least 10 feet of space between the ground and lowest branches.

If there are trees on your property less than 10 feet apart, our mulcher can remove these trees quickly and easily, creating the space needed.

Underbrush Clearing

Excess vegetation should be cleared to avoid providing fuel for the fires. This includes removing dead plants, removing plants away from the home, keeping grass and fields trimmed, and making sure that plants are not too close together.

Within the first 30 feet of your home all dead plants, weeds and grass should be moved from the yard as well as the roof and under the deck. 30-100 feet from the house grass should be kept under 4 inches and plants should be placed at least 2x their height apart.

Not only should the grass around your home be maintained, but if you have fields near trees that should also be kept under control to avoid providing fuel.

Our skid-steer’s mulching attachment as well as its mowing attachment can be beneficial in helping to clear vegetation that needs to be taken out, and help keep fields mowed and under controlled.

Oregon Land Maintenance and Reclamation wants to help keep Oregon green, but we also want to help you protect your home. For more information on defensible space you can also visit the Oregon Department of Forestry website or talk to your local fire department.

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