Wildfires are an ever-present threat across the Western United States, and communities in Central Oregon are no exception. As a homeowner, you might be aware of the risk, but do you know how to effectively protect your property? Taking proactive steps now not only safeguards your home but also enhances your eligibility for fire insurance—a crucial component of comprehensive home protection. This e-book will guide you through the importance of defensible space and Firewise protections, providing actionable steps to fortify your property against wildfires and ensure peace of mind.

Chapter 1: Understanding Defensible Space

What is Defensible Space?

Defensible space is a buffer zone created between your property and the surrounding wildland. This area is strategically designed and maintained to slow the spread of wildfire and protect your home from direct flame contact and radiant heat. A well-maintained defensible space also provides firefighters with a safer environment to combat the blaze, increasing the chances of saving your home.

Zones of Defensible Space

  1. Immediate Zone (0-5 feet): This is the area closest to your home. Keep it lean, clean, and green by removing all flammable materials, such as dried leaves, dead vegetation, and wood piles.
  2. Intermediate Zone (5-30 feet): Break up the continuity of vegetation. Trim trees and bushes, remove dead plant material, and ensure that plants are spaced apart to prevent fire from spreading.
  3. Extended Zone (30-100 feet): Manage and space out vegetation to decrease the likelihood of flames reaching your home. Regularly mow grass, trim trees, and remove dead or dying plant material.

Benefits of Defensible Space

Creating defensible space significantly reduces the risk of wildfire damage. Homes with defensible space are more likely to be protected by firefighters, are less likely to ignite from embers, and maintain lower temperatures during a wildfire, all contributing to the safety and security of your property.

Chapter 2: Firewise Landscaping

Choosing Fire-Resistant Plants

Incorporate fire-resistant plants into your landscaping. These plants have high moisture content, are less likely to ignite, and can help slow the spread of fire. Some examples include:

  • Succulents like sedum and aloe
  • Ground covers like ice plant and periwinkle
  • Shrubs like manzanita and currant


Landscaping Tips

  • Irrigation: Maintain an efficient irrigation system to keep plants hydrated and less flammable.
  • Mulching: Use non-combustible mulch like gravel or stone, especially near your home.
  • Plant Spacing: Ensure proper spacing between plants to prevent fire from jumping between them.

Regular Maintenance

Regularly prune trees, shrubs, and bushes to remove dead or overgrown branches. Clean up fallen leaves and other debris that can serve as fuel for fires. Keep your grass well-watered and mowed to reduce its flammability.

Chapter 3: Home Hardening

Building Materials

Using fire-resistant building materials can greatly reduce the risk of your home catching fire. Consider materials such as:

  • Class A roofing materials like metal, slate, or tile
  • Fire-resistant siding like stucco, brick, or fiber-cement
  • Double-paned or tempered glass windows to prevent breakage from heat

Vents and Eaves

Install ember-resistant vents to prevent embers from entering your home through attic and crawl space vents. Enclose eaves with fire-resistant materials to protect the vulnerable overhangs of your roof.

Decks and Patios

Use fire-resistant materials for decks and patios. Keep these areas clear of flammable materials and regularly check for and repair any structural damage that could become an ignition point.

Chapter 4: The Insurance Angle

Fire Insurance and Defensible Space

Insurance companies are increasingly factoring in defensible space and Firewise practices when assessing eligibility for fire insurance. Homes with well-maintained defensible space and fire-resistant features are considered lower risk, making it easier to obtain and maintain fire insurance coverage.


Maintain thorough documentation of your fire mitigation efforts. Take photos, keep receipts of materials and services, and create a maintenance log. This documentation can be invaluable when negotiating with insurance providers and proving your property's fire-resistant status.

Working with Your Insurance Agent

Regularly review your insurance policy and discuss your fire mitigation efforts with your agent. Ensure your coverage is adequate for the value of your home and its contents, and consider additional endorsements if necessary to cover specific risks.

Chapter 5: Community and Resources

Firewise Communities

Join or form a Firewise community in your area. These communities work together to implement fire-safe practices, share resources, and support each other's efforts to reduce wildfire risk.

Local Resources

Take advantage of local resources available in Central Oregon and the wider Western U.S. Many areas have fire departments, extension services, and government agencies that offer guidance, training, and sometimes financial assistance for fire mitigation projects.

Stay Informed

Stay updated on wildfire risks and weather conditions in your area. Sign up for local alerts, follow fire weather forecasts, and participate in community meetings and workshops on fire safety.


Taking proactive steps to create defensible space and adopt Firewise practices is not just about protecting your home; it's about securing your future. By investing time and resources into fire prevention measures, you enhance your property's resilience against wildfires, improve your eligibility for fire insurance, and contribute to the safety of your entire community. At Fathom Realty OR, we're committed to helping you safeguard your investment and ensure peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more about fire-safe properties and how you can protect your home.

Posted by Lane Adams on


Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.