Creating a fire break for those that live in the woods

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by DenverGirlie, Dec 6, 2006.

  1. DenverGirlie

    DenverGirlie Well-Known Member

    Dec 22, 2005
    Evergreen, CO
    Question for you all.....

    If purchasing a piece of property, say 20-40+ acres, that backs up to heavily wooded area or has portions of heavily wooded area, has anyone ever built in a fire break to your property? What do you have and what is your "plan"?

    What would those guideline be in terms of a "break" and the distances involved. Would you be proactive and "burn" the break so that if a fire comes through their is nothing to burn for 20+ feet? What footage would this break be?

    Long rambling question(s) I know.... I've found a few companies that will come out and create a plan with you, but haven't really found any guidelines, hints, tips, etc. Seems like their should be information about this online.

    **** Living in Colorado, we have frequent wild fires, and am just thinking about the future. As you can tell from my screen name I'm still city bound at this time.

  2. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Feb 24, 2003
    On my place I have things I hope will stop a fire which most of the time it does.Like Roads,a spring.But up around my buildings I've sprayed to kill all grass and weeds,then rake everything back.Game plan is if the fire is making it up to my buildings,I'm going to backfire.

    Thing with fire if your like me on a hill.Fire will burn so much faster,it don't need wind,because it will make its own.

    I've seen our local Forestry Department think a road would stop a fire,only to have it jump the road and just keep going. :hobbyhors

    big rockpile

  3. spectre

    spectre Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    As a volunteer firefighter the simple rule of thumb we use is that a fire can jump twice the distance of the height of the fuel that is burning.

    So if you have 6" grass it can jump 12".

    If you have 50' trees it can jump 100'.

    So a true fire break will need quite a bit of distance between fuels to be effective depending upon the situation.

    Hope that helps.

  4. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2004
    Zone 9b
    I have 20 wooded acres within a wooded gated community (it is really just the middle of nowhere with dirt roads that only homesteaders could love). In 1998 wildfires were so bad that they evacuated the whole county north of us and evacuated our neighborhood twice. Everyone feared they would lose their house. Many lost all their woods and it is just now getting back to where some folks have trees tall enough to provide privacy instead of bare land.

    We have our own volunteer fire station and after that scare our firemen told us to totally clear around our houses (no shrubs even) for several hundred feet. Luckily, we had not started building yet, so we bulldozed and took out pine trees before having the foundation poured. Things are starting to grow back now, though, so I need to get out there and get ruthless. We have had several wildfire scares recently and I don’t panic nearly as much as I would if there were trees close to the house to burn. Besides, those pine needles can be a real pain to get out of the lawn and they embrace screens something fierce! The cones can fall all they want in the wooded area and the sap can stick to the swamp. It makes for a lot less maintenance to keep the trees at a distance.
  5. hoofinitnorth

    hoofinitnorth Well-Known Member

    Oct 17, 2006
    The local fire authorities have guidelines for "defensible space" but they are only intended as small stop-gap buffers around buildings you want to preserve, rather than land as a whole. Fires in our areas are usually large and raging and they can and do jump any size break.
  6. Old Vet

    Old Vet In Remembrance

    Oct 14, 2006
    It always depends where you live. I have the same thing here and a 6 foot is all that I have. In some areas that is not enough. If you live in the weat you need much more. The State Forestry Commision is a very vabule source for that kind of things. They might even construct a fire break for little money or free. The Forestry Commision employee will make the best guess as to what kind of fire break you need.