Be Firewise this Summer

In preparation for this summer’s expected fire season, I wanted to remind our community the importance of creating and maintaining a defensible space around your home. The Summit Park Home Owner Association strives to bring science-based best practices to you so you can make an informed decision on how to help protect your investment and your family.

There has been a change to the home ignition reduction strategy. Within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) professional community, it has been accepted that there are two fuel modification zones around a home:

  • Zone 1: zero to 30 feet
  • Zone 2: 30 to 100 feet

Current studies have shown that the majority of homes burned during a wildland fire were started by the wind, its swirling eddy effect and the accumulation of flying embers. This ignition source falls within, what is now referred to as, the Immediate Zone. This area is located from 0 to 5 feet out away from any deck or structure. This is the non-combustible area and science tell us this is the most important zone to take action on as it is the most vulnerable to embers.

The two subsequent zones are now categorized as:

  • The Intermediate Zone: 5 to 30 feet
  • The Extended Zone: 30 to 100 feet

Start with the house itself and then move into the landscaping section. Although there is no silver bullet to guarantee preventing house ignition during a wildland fire event, below are some easy treatment measures that will “Harden” your home if a fire should happen.

  • Remove or greatly reduce combustible material, including landscaping mulch and bark chips, pine cones and pine needles, within 5 feet of any structures and decks. Exception can be if the landscaping material is in close proximity to noncombustible siding like stucco or concrete. Placing gravel or crushed rock a foot or so up against the structure can be a nice alternative.
  • Clean roof valleys and gutters of pine needles, leaves and debris. This can be a bed for embers.
  • Cover any openings in the eves, soffit or roof with screens. This will reduce the likelihood of embers penetrating these void spaces. Look for new wood pecker or squirrel holes. Fix the fascia that fell off last winter.
  • Avoid stacking firewood under or on top of the deck during the summer.
  • Cut down dead trees on property and apply to the HOA’s tree bounty program to receive a $100 reimbursement for every qualifying tree.
  • Sign up to receive free wood chipping services from PCFD.

For more information on FireWise landscaping and other important topics, please visit the website:

Thank you,

Mike Quinones, Fire & Safety Information Coordinator, Summit Park HOA