Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The 5 Best Ways To Minimize Tree Fire Hazard On Your Property

The Wragg Fire from Lake Berryessa, California, recently caused our home office to have to
The Wragg Fire forced our office to evacuate (twice!).
evacuate and harbor at one of our other offices. As of today, that fire is nearly completely contained after burning 8,000 acres of hillside in between Napa and Vacaville and threatening hundreds of homes.

Before the Wragg Fire could be extinguished, the Rocky Fire started in Lake County, and at the time this blog is being written, is still only 20% contained and threatening over 6,000 homes in Clearlake.

So, aside from "500 feet of defensible space", what can you do to reduce the chances of the trees on your property becoming fire fuel? Here is a short list--easy for any homeowner--to guide you through best practices for tree care when it comes to fire hazard:

1. DO NOT WATER YOUR TREES WITH A SPRINKLER. In an effort to save water, many people are watering their yards (including trees) with a sprinkler. Since sprinklers are designed for watering shallow root plants, like lawns or gardens, they are not sufficient to deliver water to the deeper roots of a mature tree. 
A better bet for your trees is to have a special irrigation system designed. This will save water and be the best investment for your property to keep your trees alive and healthy.
How water distribution varies with irrigation

2. HONOR THE DEAD. Branches, trees, roots...any dead limbs or trunks should be removed regularly. They usually make great firewood! A Certified Arborist will be able to tell you if a tree is savable, or worth trying to save. And removal of big trees should not be a problem, even in the most delicate landscape scenario, for a seasoned tree removal specialist like Signature Tree Service in Northern California. We use a rope & pully system to protect landscaping, decks or fences around the removed tree. Check out videos of this on our You Tube page!

3.  ASSESS LIKE CLOCKWORK. To take care of your car, you get the oil changed every several thousand miles. You make a note and know that it's important to do so. The same "maintenance" goes for trees on your property. Instead of getting the oil changed, you make a note on your calendar to get your trees assessed annually by a Certified Tree Risk Assessor. Regular assessments can help PREVENT disease and death, which not only saves your trees but also saves your tree equity!

4. KEEP BRANCHES AWAY FROM YOUR BBQ & CHIMINEA. This seems like an obvious one but sometimes even fancy, well-planned outdoor kitchens can pose a fire hazard. Why? Trees are like kids--they grow up pretty fast! Many homeowners postpone pruning until the trees are out of control. In a drought, however, out of control is easier than you think when it comes to fire hazard. It only takes one spark.

5. SELF-ASSESS EVERY FEW MONTHS. In the drought conditions that California is seeing now, things can change quickly! 
Check your trees for signs of weakness: bug infestation, dead branches, lack of growth, etc. Catching problems you can treat early on can help minimize fire hazard around your home and maximize your property's return on investment.  

If you have an emergency situation, Signature Tree Service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week ALWAYS with a Certified Arborist on staff. Give us a call to reach us directly at (707) 449-8653.

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