A Review of Firescaping by Douglas Kent: Important Fire Safety Tips for Mountain Homeowners
Earlier this month, the Second Edition of Firescaping by Douglas Kent was released. The book is a comprehensive and clearly written resource that should be read by anyone living in the mountains or rural parts of CA. Wildfires have thrown the California home insurance market into chaos, and any measures that can help to improve a home’s insurability should be taken.
Firescaping is full of useful checklists such as how to prepare for a wildfire, what to do during a wildfire, landscape design considerations for different types of properties, and much more. Below are two sections we found especially interesting and have chosen to highlight.
Maintained Roads and Clear Property Access
One checklist we found particularly interesting related to importance of roads and property access. It is critical that neighborhoods maintain clear roads to allow emergency resources to fight fires as unimpeded as possible. More importantly, clear roads can be the difference between life and death for people evacuating in an emergency.
When you combine maintained roads with a clear driveway, you make your home attractive to emergency personnel in the event of a fire. Firefighters may be forced to decide which homes to concentrate defense efforts to and should not risk their lives for a structure that doesn't provide protection and opportunity to safely defend it. Kent includes a design checklist to make the driveway safe and attractive to firefighters.
Defensible Space: Yet Again
We previously wrote near 1,000 words on the importance of defensible space. While our article provides an overview, Firescaping goes into the details of creating optimal defensible space and covers topics such as plant selection, irrigation layouts, fencing choices, and much more. Statistics and numbers are common throughout the book; Kent shares a few that are alarming when defensible space is not present: