Building and Landscaping With Wildfires In Mind

With and average of 2.5 million hectares of land being compromised every year by the British Columbia wildfires and with provinces throughout Canada suffering from smoke inhalation, it is up to homeowners, builders and landscapers to consider fire safe methods and materials for homeowners.
Canada has warmed at over two times the average rate of the rest of the world, with the highest rates seen in Northern Canada at an average temperature increase of 2.3 C, making it that much more susceptible to fire and smoke. 

Therefore when it comes to building outdoor, backyard spaces it is recommended to: 

1. Use non-combustible patio materials and hard surfaces:

Carefully select your landscaping needs with the incorporation of fire and ember resistant construction materials in mind. Hardscape a deck or patio with options like gravel, steel or stone for architectural appeal, easy maintenance, and fire safety.

If you’ve already decided on wooden, plastic or wood-plastic composite deck boards then surround your deck or patio with non-combustible materials such as rock mulch, gravel, brick, concrete pavers or patio stones to prevent vegetation growing too close.

Other options on a smaller-scale are edging your patio with planters for a budget-conscious client or interspersing hard surfaces between large swaths or greenery and vegetation. A patio here and a round landing area for the fire pit over there, all in between the green masses.

2. Enclosing your deck and/or patio

 Great ways to enclose your space is to use glass. Storm doors are made up of a wooden frame dividing the open area under the beam of your patio room and glass - by creatin a wall of windows you're both opening up a space and enclosing it. Glass is also a fire safe material.

For patios without a built-in roof gazebos and canopies are a great option, however, wood and canvas material if very flammable. It would be best o use a metal frame and removable/foldable shades. 

3. Maintain and manage greenery and potential fuel:

Once a fire starts, if any of the three components of the fire tetrahedron (Heat, Fuel, Oxygen) is removed, the fire is extinguished. Fuel can be in the obvious forms of natural gas and propane, which is as easy and turning off a switch, or as overlooked as grass, shrubs, wood, paper, clothing and furniture.. 

Regularly mowing grass and trimming any other foliage and spacing out trees, shrubs and other plant life is not only aesthetically pleasing but fire safe. When you keep your trees approximately ten feet apart fire will have a more difficult time jumping between them. Even beyond 100 feet from your house, keeping your property thinned and pruned, and storing combustibles away from fire sources makes it less likely that a fire quickly reaches your home.

4. Opt for native vegetation and/or plants with high-water content levels: 

Sticking to your local and native plants is generally a good rule of thumb. These species are adapted to living and thriving in the area, they root deep and retain water more easily, making them less likely to burn, as opposed to foreign plants that are basically kindling for fire.

Generally, plants with leaves that have a high-water content are ideal to bypass dry wood, other options are succulents because they store water well.

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