May 16, 2014 9:22 PM by Kelsey Kennedy
Most deciduous trees as well as annuals and fruit and vegetable plants are fire resistant, while evergreens have sap and resin that make them more flammable.
According to Amy Sylvester, the Colorado Springs Fire Department's Wildfire Mitigation Program Coordinator, aspen, maple, and ash trees are great fire resistant options. If you're looking for shrubs, lilac and forsythia will work. Some evergreens are more fire resistant than others.
"This is a golden barberry, but you can also get green barberry. They retain their foliage throughout most of the season, and they're much less flammable," she says. "Also a good alternative to something like this creeping scotch pine."
The more sticky sap and greasy resin you get on your hands after touching the plant, the more flammable it is. Perennials like irises and dianthus will add color year after year.
"Dianthus is a really fire resistant plant because it grows so compactly," Sylvester says. "It's just not a very good burner, and it also thrives very well at this altitude."
Ornamental grasses are popular in our area because they're very water efficient, but they can be dangerous.
"Fine fuels like this recover their fuel moisture very well, but they also lose their fuel moisture very quickly," she says. "So these will dry out very quickly if they're exposed to something burning next to them. They'll ignite readily."
Evergreens should be planted at least 15 feet away from your home, and trimmed up from the ground.
Having the right vegetation around your house can protect if from fire, and helps firefighters do the same.
"When fire is burning something that is more volatile, and comes up against a break in the type of vegetation, to something that's a much higher moisture content, and is less flamable, that will change the fire behavior around your home."
CSFD's Wildfire Mitigation Program does free consultations. They'll come to your home and help you decide what will be the safest, and the best looking plants.