Tree Trimming Can Aid in Fire Prevention

July 9, 2019
July 9, 2019 Ryan McFadgen

Tree Trimming Can Aid in Fire Prevention

You might guess that tree trimming can prevent falling limbs and debris, and perhaps spare your home or other structures from damage. But there’s actually another enormous benefit of tree trimming, from both safety and property protection perspectives. Pruning your trees can help to prevent fires, or at least slow their spread.

Some trees are more susceptible to fire, particularly those with:

  • low hanging branches
  • excessive amounts of debris on the ground underneath
  • dry, brittle limbs
  • overgrown branches that are crowded close together

All of those factors basically serve as kindling, helping a small fire to spread and overtake your tree(s). And if that tree is near your home, you could have an even bigger problem.

So, how can tree trimming reduce your risk of a major fire?

Vertical spacing. Branches and vegetation can create a link between the ground and treetops, so that even a small ground fire quickly spreads and overtakes a large area. When we trim trees to reduce this risk, we can remove branches that hang close to the ground, or that hang too closely over nearby shrubs.

Horizontal spacing. When trees become overgrown, their limbs might touch structures such as your house, or the limbs of other trees. Ideally, we would have at least 10 feet of clearance between individual trees’ limbs, and between tree limbs and your home (or garage, tool shed, and so on).  This distance needs to increase with a slope.

A defensible space around your home. In order to discourage the spread of fire close to your home, surround the structure with a “defensible space”. Within about 30 feet of the house, remove all dry and dead vegetation, and trim trees according to the horizontal spacing guidelines above. Within about 100 feet of the home, you should keep grass cut to a maximum of four inches, and create vertical spacing between trees and ground.

A baseline rule is this: Anything that could serve as fuel for a fire should be cleared away from your home, and you should promote sensible spacing between trees with regular tree trimming. For an evaluation of your home’s tree safety, as well as a quote on services, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to take a look.




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