Get your yard FireSmart
FireSmart Plant Program tags make planting a wildfire-resilient yard easy. Find them at participating garden centres.
FireSmart landscaping tips & insights
There are simple steps you can take to drastically reduce your property’s risk of damage caused by wildfire. FireSmart methods have been proven to reduce the likelihood of losses, even under the most extreme fire conditions.
Your best protection from wildfire is prevention, and one of the best tools available is the FireSmart BC Landscaping Guide.
Keep grass cut below 10 cm
Grass shorter than 10 centimetres is less likely to burn intensely, reducing its ability to ignite structures. Whenever possible, you should also ensure that your lawn is well hydrated, as dry grass has a higher flammability potential.
Be aware of which plants and trees your property contains
Coniferous trees, with cones and needles, are highly flammable and should not be within 10 metres of your home. A few of these are spruce, pine, fir, and cedar. Find out more about FireSmart plants and use them to reduce your risk.
Know your property’s ignition zones
Learn the 4 priority structure ignition zones around your property. Work with your neighbours in any overlapping priority zones! Check out the structure ignition zone poster here.
Find out which fire-resistant plants are best suited for your area
Our fire-resistant plant tool helps British Columbians identify the species that grow best in the specific climate where they live. Finding the right plants lowers the risk of structure damage due to wildfire, and FireSmart selections can also increase sustainability, helping to conserve water and attract pollinators.
Fire-resistant plant of the month
Every month a fire-resistant plant is featured. Artwork created by TunkaCikala Peoples, a Sn̓ʕay̓ckstx/Sinixt artist from Arrow Lakes in British Columbia.
(aka Carex flacca and Carex glauca)
Blue sedge resembles ornamental grass and is an attractive low fire risk plant. It adds an interesting dimension and texture to a landscape with arching leaves that come in a lovely bluish green. Blue sedge is relatively low maintenance, making a nice choice for a border or edging plant that may be used in the intermediate zone.
- Grows up to about 20 cm in height with a spread of about 30 cm
- Does best in part sun to shade
- Typically sedges prefer moist soil conditions but this selection is drought tolerant
A FireSmart landscape is a yard designed and maintained with the goal of reducing damage and/or loss from wildfires. What is planted and where it is planted are two key factors.
These zones are areas around a home where steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of embers accumulating and leading to the structure being ignited by fire. The most critical are the non-combustible 1.5-metre zone up against the home and the next zone within 10 metres. See the FireSmart Structure Ignition Zone Poster for more details.
Assess. Take a walk around your yard, make a note of items that look like they would catch fire easily, and make a to-do list for fixing. Start directly outside and around your home and move outwards. For example, needles and dry leaves could be cleaned up and put in the compost.
Plants with the following characteristics are more flammable:
- leaves that have a strong odour when crushed
- stems or branches that have a gummy sap with a strong odour
- fine, dry, dead material such as loose, papery bark, twigs, needles, and leaves within the plant
Not necessarily. Close consideration should be given to removing anything combustible within the 1.5-metre non-combustible zone. Conifers in the 1.5-10 metre zone should also be looked at closely.
Low-growing conifers may be less risky further from the house, but still provide flammable fuel. Tall conifer trees may not be feasible to remove. Fire risk can still be mitigated by pruning lower branches and raking up debris such as needles and cones.
Use broadleaf evergreens from the FireSmart plant tool for year-round interest.
There are no fire-proof plants. However, plants with the following characteristics do not provide significant fuel or increase fire intensity:
- moist, supple leaves
- water-like sap with little or no odour
- limited build-up of dead material
Note: Fire-resistant plants may become more risky if they are neglected and dead material is allowed to accumulate.
To find out which fire-resistant plants will grow in your area, use our FireSmart plant tool.