Recent wildfires in Oklahoma have put homes and the vegetation around them in focus. Earlier this week, the Stillwater News Press ran a great article highlighting Firewise plantings. It provides background guidance on plant selection and mitigation work around the home for clean-up.
The article positively emphasizes that, “While homeowners take steps to keep from accidentally starting a fire in or near their homes, they also can help protect their homes from wildfire through the plants they establish in their landscapes.”
The Firewise Communities/USA Program provides links to state Cooperative Extension Service plant lists and some regional landscape guidance sources. The program also shares guidance information in the current versions of the Firewise Guide to Landscape and Construction and Communities Compatible with Nature publications.
I had the opportunity earlier this week to talk with Steve Mattax, Firewise Coordinator with the Oklahoma Forestry Services, about the risk to vegetation around properties. He shared that, “As Oklahoma has a wide range of environments, homeowners need to select plants that are adapted to the part of the state they live in. Homeowners should select plants that can survive both the temperatures and moisture regimes of their locale.
He went onto stress that that residents should, “Select plants that are Firewise and fire resistant, because Oklahoma is wildland fire environment. It is not if a wildfire will occur, but when."