Homeowners Can Increase the Survivability of their Home From Wildfire!

Wildfires have burned hundreds of thousands of acres in the United States, forced evacuations, burned structures, and claimed lives. Fire fighting agencies will do all they can in the event of wildfire but can become quickly overwhelmed in a large blaze.

Only you, the homeowner, can guarantee your safety and increase the ability of your home to survive a wildfire. For Big Elk homeowners, there are many things that can be done during a weekend to increase the survivability of structures. Defensible space generally refers to the area between a structure and an oncoming wildfire in which vegetation and the structure have been modified to reduce the threat of wildfire. Defensible space allows firefighters to operate more safely and efficiently. Some key concepts include vegetative management, increasing structure survivability, and promoting firefighter safety.

Homeowners are responsible for creating defensible space. Waiting until a wildfire threatens your property is too late.


    1. Determine the size of an effective defensible space for your situation – We recommend 200 Feet

Then within this "Home Ignition Zone :

    1. Create a separation between trees and scrubs. Thin dense pockets of trees. Try for an average of 20 feet between tree crowns.

    2. Reduce the ladder fuels. Create a 5 to 8 feet vertical separation between tree branches and ground plants (shrubs and grasses) by pruning trees and or removing shrubs and grasses, and/or small trees.

    3. Create a “LEAN, CLEAN, GREEN” area extending at least 30 feet from structures or to your lot Line:

    • Include a 10’ noncombustible area around each structure. Remove all combustible material from under decks and porches. [THIS STEP MAY TAKE LESS THAN AN HOUR TO ACCOMPLISH AND COULD MAKE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE!]

    • Cut dry grass to 3 inches or less

    • Remove tree limbs that are within 10’ of structures.

    1. Maintain steps 2-5 annually or as needed!

Take dead vegetation to the slash pile. You may also mulch it or "lop and Scatter" in small amounts.

Think about helping a neighbor with these projects, if they are interested and unable to do the work themselves. Wild fires do not stop at property lines.

Big Elk Meadows homeowners can contact the VFD of Big Elk and ask for a private evaluation of your property. We will give you tips to identify and mitigate the risks of wild fire on your property. You can greatly improve the survivability of your home!

We do not have the resources to do the mitigation. There are residents that can provide that service for a fee.

You may mitigate BEMA land within 200 feet of your home. Talk to Paul Flanagan

Video on Protecting Your Home From Wildfire