Oregon State University Extension Service

What is the best way to reduce fire fuel on my property?

I just moved to a fairly wooded area west of town where I imagine fire danger is a real issue. I know that removing all extra debris and "fuel" in the yard is important. With all the trees and branches that went down from the storm I have a ton of wood I need to get rid of. What is the most eco friendly way to do this ? I see lots of burn piles... but am wondering if this is the best option. Any other fire prevention ideas are welcome too.

There are other options for removing dead material from around your home.

  1. You can load up the material and take it off site to a vegetation management company that will compost it, mulch it, or re-purpose it.
  2. You can chip it and scatter it. Scatter it in a non-uniform manner or pile it away from other vegetation and buildings.
  3. You can lop and scatter it, which is cutting it up into smaller pieces and spreading it out into the woods. You'll want to do this in a non-uniform manner as well. This allows it to decompose in place while not creating a continuous fuel source in the case of a fire.
  4. You can pile it in low well spaced piles. Be sure that these piles are small enough that the are 1/3 of the size of the lowest branches of the trees around them and that they aren't close enough together to ignite each other in the case of a fire. Piles this small can decompose fairly quickly in the winter and provide wildlife habitat in the mean time.

There is a great publication that we have you can read here: Keeping Your Home and Property Safe from Wildfire: A Defensible Space and Fuel Reduction Guide for Homeowners and Landowners

Source URL: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/ask-extension/featured/what-best-way-reduce-fire-fuel-my-property