Trees are a major risk point for fires both in urban settings and in rural areas. But you don't have to cut down your trees in order to reduce the fire risk on your property. Proper tree trimming also accomplishes this in a variety of ways. Here are a few of the most important — and surprising ways.
1. Removing Dead or Damaged Limbs
Unhealthy trees are at a higher risk of fire because they may be dry, brittle, or prone to falling and spreading fire. The best way to fortify your trees is to have a professional assess the health of their various parts and excise weak links.
2. Raising Branch Height
Lower branches on a tree trunk might look nice and lush, but they can make a fire worse. Few tree owners realize that branches can form a sort of tree ladder that assists flames in moving up a tree from ground level — or vice versa. Your tree trimmer may recommend the removal of branches up to 10 feet or more.
3. Separating Canopies
Who doesn't love a thick green canopy overhead? All that shade makes the yard more comfortable, but it also makes things more pleasing to fires. Why? Interconnected canopies facilitate fire moving from one tree to another quickly. Good fire resistance in canopies usually involves thinning out individual trees and creating some separation between specimens.
4. Protecting the House
Many experts advise homeowners to plant trees a distance from the structure. They may even recommend removal of those which could bring fire too close to the home. However, if you do want to keep some trees closer to the house, you can also take steps like choosing more fire-resistant trees, keeping branches away from the roof, and separating these trees from other ignition sources.
5. Removing Debris
What's on the tree itself isn't the only potential fire flash point. Debris, wood piles, broken limbs, underbrush, and other flammable material around trees boosts the chances of fire traveling. When you work with a professional tree service, they will clean up after themselves, removing these flammable elements and even providing moister wood chips to serve as fire-resistant mulch.
Where to Start
Start by consulting with a tree service in the local region. With their help and regular checkups, you can enjoy your trees with the confidence that they help form a protective layer around your home.