Assistance for Protecting Your Property from Wildfire
The partnership can assist you by assessing your property, recommending a treatment, arranging for implementation of thinning, and supplementing the cost of treatment.
RCFMP obtains federal grant funds to supplement the thinning costs. Even though these grants typically require a 50% match, the net result of the partnership involvement is a significantly lower cost to the landowner.
You start by letting us know that you are interested.
An expression of interest is not a commitment – it just places you on our list of interested property owners. After you are on our list, we will mark your property with removable flagging for a recommended treatment. We will then ask you to review our mark. If you see green flagging, we have marked the trees recommended to be left; if you see red flagging, we have marked the trees recommended to be cut. After you review the mark you can ask questions and decide if you want to participate. If you say yes, that is when you will be asked to make a commitment in writing.
Many property owners are willing and able to do their own thinning, raking and pruning, but they need a place to dispose of the woody material. The Forest Service has identified pits where material can be taken. In some cases the local fire departments or other groups volunteer to staff these pits once or twice a month so that they can be made available to the local public. This allows you to be responsible for maintaining your own defensible space.
The ongoing drought adds to the concern.
Wildfire and bark beetles are a serious
threat to many properties in Coconino County.
Don’t delay. Contact Us for an assessment
of your property.
Maintaining Survivable Space
"What good is a cabin in the woods without the woods?"
Terry Daniels, University of Arizona
The trees on your property have been thinned. Now what?
You have taken an important step – you’ve reduced the wildfire risk to your property. But remember, you can’t eliminate the risk of wildfire to your property without eliminating the forest. The degree of protection is your choice.
What do I need to know?
You are responsible for monitoring and maintaining your survivable space every year. Each survivable space technique that you implement aids in reducing the risk that your home and surrounding environment will be destroyed by wildland fire. You should become familiar with them all, but in this brochure we discuss the techniques related to vegetation. Visit www.firewise.org for other techniques.
What else should I do?
Thinning:First ask yourself, is it thinned enough? Many people have discovered they like the more open look. Many have also realized that their trees weren’t thinned enough to create openings in the crown canopy that are necessary for effective fire risk reduction. Some of these folks have thinned their property a second time, with great results.
Pruning: When RCFMP treats a property, we don’t do pruning. You should remove low hanging branches that create ladder fuels. Pruning of live and dead branches to 10 feet is recommended, higher near structures.
Clean-up:Of course, you should clean up needles and branches annually within 10 feet of structures. Locations are provided for depositing this material on a scheduled basis.
Burning:Controlled burning is a bold step, and certainly shouldn’t be done without involving your local fire department to make sure it can be done safely. But it has benefits. It removes litter accumulations, while exposing the soil only briefly to erosion (vs annual raking). Best of all, it recycles the nutrients back into the soil, which is good for forest health.
Think long term!
Remember that forests are dynamic - thinned canopies grow back together. Review your vegetation treatment needs every 5 years. Also look at the big picture. Tragic as it is, a home can be replaced in a year; it takes 50, 100 or even 200 years to replace the woods. The larger the area treated, the greater the benefits it affords. Encourage your neighbors to take action. Finally, get involved in the planning of forest treatments on nearby public lands.
Is that all there is?
Thinning not only reduces wildfire risk, it improves the health of the remaining trees so that they are more resistant to insects and disease. Controlled burning under the right conditions can have similar effects. So our choices on most private and public lands are to introduce prescribed fire, thin for forest health and wildfire risk reduction, or do nothing at all. No matter what you do, smoke is likely to be part of the equation for people who choose to live in and around the woods. No action could result in maximum smoke from wildfire; management action will result in less smoke from prescribed fire or pile burning. Even the material that is cut and raked on private property, and hauled off to be piled, has to be burned sometime.