Sue Moore

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since Feb 26, 2019
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homeschooling personal care foraging
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Recent posts by Sue Moore

I have a PDC and oddly enough spent a year surveying properties for insurance companies and bank loans. In that work we did brush fire reports where we measured how far the fuel was from the home. If you go on google maps and zoom in on your property you can measure the distance from your house to the brush (trees/sagebrush) in a forested situation. But note that a google map could be 2 years old and have outdated information. An insurance company wanted to have no fuel in the 30 feet surrounding the home. "Fuel" was a continuous large supply not a landscaping tree. Dry grass is low risk, sagebrush is medium risk and trees are high risk. No plants, trees or shrubs more than 3 feet tall under an eve. No plants or trees touching windows. A tree 10 feet away or more from the side of a building preferred. No trees touching the roof. Other measurements were keeping the fuel sources 100 feet away from all structures. We measured everything in a 1000 ft radius of the home. Trees should be limbed 6 ft (all the branches cut off the trunk up 6 feet). Some properties that were in wildfire country cleared trees and shrubs to 200 feet around the structures. They also didn't like thickets of trees, trees too close together. They would recommend thinning to prevent fire from spreading. And did not want the tops of trees in clusters touching each other. Sagebrush can have 16 ft tall flames. You don't want it up against the house. No Firewood stacked against a building but stacked 65 feet away from the house (sounds fun in winter huh?).

As permies, at some point you ask yourself why do I want to live in a forest if I have to chop half of it all down? Or the crazy insurance rules made it seem like sure I'll just move this tree 10 feet to the left and everything will be fine. And yet we have gone through 3 wildfires where we live and fire is very real, very demanding, even relentless. You will have to figure out what you are comfortable with. The insurance companies didn't want anything flammable on a deck. There goes your adirondack chairs your grandpa made, do I really have to get rid of them? It's all in your comfort level. If the chairs catch on fire first and because of them the whole house burns down will you be okay with that? We had to watch a video training where they burned a house down on purpose. They showered the house with sparks until it ignited and burned down. They watched for what lit first. Often it was pine needles on the roof or in the gutters. So walk around your property and ask what will catch on fire first? What can you do to protect that spot? Houses that burned down in previous wildfires were rebuilt with a four foot landscaped rock bed on all sides of the home. There's no reason you can't secure your home to your level of safety and still do permaculture. Fire is part of nature. And you can engineer details into your property design. Green zones. A secondary evacuation way out. Fire "resistant" plantings nearest the house. We have a gravel front yard. Learn what wildfire people do to bulldoze fire breaks. Some folks here have their own private fire truck on their property. One guy showed me equipment where he could hook up a fire truck to the huge irrigation system out in the field. Visit mitigated properties to get more ideas and learn from fire fighters who have experience defending their homesteads.

The mountain outside our dining room window was on fire three weeks ago. Friends of ours evacuated here but did not have a home to go back to the next day. God bless your mitigation efforts and may you be safe and prosper in your permaculture!
1 month ago