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shawn dunseith
Posts: 59
Location: mo
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Weve been considering trying to get some land in north idaho or west montana and was wondering how much of a concern wild fires are in the area, and if there are ways to protect property from such events using permaculture.
 
Yone' Ward
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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The biggest fire risk is between July and September. The risk gradually climbs as you get closer to October. October generally brings rain and effectively ends the risk. I'm not sure where good fire prevention turns into permaculture, but these things will go far:

Probably the number one thing you can do is to learn to identify lodge pole pine quickly and cut then out right away. Forest fires are part of their natural life cycle so they are made to burn. They are probably the number one cause of raging forest fires.

If you keep trees 30-50 feet from your house the worst of the danger is reduced as grass fires typically lack the heat and staying power to be a major threat. Still, a masonry exterior, cob, rock, earth, etc, on your house will further protect you from fire and will stabilize the internal temperature of your house during normal conditions. A steep gable or hip roof with metal roofing and no dormers encourage air born burning embers to slide off your roof and also fair well against deep snows.

Trimming the branches of the trees up 5 feet or so from the ground also helps prevent grass fires from entering the trees canopy.

Cut clearings. These will slow or stop fires.

Clean up fallen needles and limbs. Either use them as firewood or bury them (hugelkultur).

Theoretically, allelopathic species like walnuts could automatically create a fire break if planted as a hedgerow.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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i like the idea of allelopathic hederows causing a "dead zone" where there is little to no fuel for the fire in the first place

i had also thought(though this is an extremely expensive and labor intesive route) of building a MASSIVE hugelkultur bed around the perimieter of a property, terracing and building a wall of dirt up at least 30-50ft high(probably have to be terraced and quite wide) taking most of the excess soil from the outer part of the wall to make burning materials fall down hill, this bed has no trees but instead a lot of herbaceous plants
this would be built AT LEAST 50 feet back from any trees, preferably a half acre or more though

i think itd work quite effectively but quite labor intensive, it may be a better idea to just plant a buffer zone of some alleopathic trees, then allelopatic herbaceous plants for a hundred feet or so, then another hundre feet of small herbaceous plants like grasses and stuff and then a normal polyculutre, minus the trees with a LOT of water retention throughout, creating a moist 300 foot buffer zone at least to help prevent fires from entering your trees, if a fire did hit, make sure to have lots of morel slurry and seeds ready to replant and re-establish the area that got burned

safe zones around homes are always a good idea though
 
Yone' Ward
Posts: 135
Location: Springdale, WA USA - Cold Mediterranean Climate
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If you really want a 50 foot hugelkultur bed, by a good tractor with a front loader. You are going to need it. The measures you will need to take to control fire will depend highly on the amount and type of tree cover the area has.

If you are in the middle of an adult pine forest, you may end up with a firestorm. Firestorms are tough to stop as they generate air born flaming debris via localized weather generated by the fire itself, but making Islands would be a good plan. Plant a tall tree every 50 ft and surround it with bushes and vines. Keep it wet. If you can make the ground dip down 18 inches or so for each tree center, it will help keep them wet.

If you buy in more of a grassy area, fire is easier to stop. Plant an allelopathic hedgerow, mow around it as needed, and you're in good shape.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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that idea was generated after thinking of the firestorms generated, i was originally thinking a good 25 acre buffer minimum if your in this sorta forest
but i do really like the hedgerow idea for sure
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9741
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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There's a big section about wildfire in the Designers Manual.

 
We've gotta get close enough to that helmet to pull the choke on it's engine and flood his mind! Or, we could just read this tiny ad:
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