Download this comprehensive 50-page booklet, The Homeowner's Guide
, written by wildland resource scientist Klaus Radtke, Ph.D. for homeowners interested in reducing the chances of wildfire and mudflow disasters on their properties.
California Friendly® plants aren’t only drought-tolerant. They’re beautiful, too, and many are fire-resistant as well. Dozens of varieties have been endorsed for use by Southern California fire agencies.
Of course, nothing is fireproof, including plants, as the 2003 firestorms showed. But is it possible to have plants that save water and protect against fire at the same time? Absolutely.
However, creating a fire-resistant barrier around your home involves far more than picking out the right plants.
Keeping them pruned and maintained is an important fire protection tool. Keep low-growing plants within 30 feet of the home; remove dead and dying vegetation and keep plants properly spaced. The closer the plants are to the house, the more care that needs to be taken.
Some of our favorite California natives are also fire-resistant. Here is a list you might want to consider. We’ve included the Latin botanical names, because that is often how the plants are listed in government guides to fire-resistant varieties.
We strongly encourage you to check the detailed guidelines provided by agencies such as the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Orange County Fire Authority, and the San Diego County Land Use and Environment Department. Another great resource is the Firewise Web site, created by the National Wildlife Coordinating Group; and the State of California Web site.