Currently fires are raging in parts of California, Arizona, Texas and Oklahoma as well as in the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Minnesota and even Florida. Since September is still fire season for many parts of North America and since horse owners usually live in rural areas, I thought I would share some of what I learned this past month at a class I took on Firewise Landscaping.

Where Matt and I and the horses now live in southwestern Idaho, there is a greater need for wildfire awareness because of the dry desert climate paired with a high potential for lightning storms. Earlier this summer Matt and I went on a moonlight trail ride with horse friends in the Owyhee Mountains. A warm wind came up during our ride and off in the distance we could see ominously dark clouds and lighting strikes. By the next morning we learned that something like nine rangeland fires had started that night. Though we were far away, the smoke from those fires drifted in thickly over Treasure Valley the next day.

Reducing your risk of wildfire begins with properly landscaping your property, called firewise landscaping, which is something most of us need to consider and plan for. Firewise landscaping starts with looking at your defensible space–the area around your home or barn where vegetation is managed to reduce the chance of igniting during a wildfire.

There are three Firewise zones or circles of defensible space around your house or barn:

  • Zone One = the 30+ foot circumference around your house or barn
  • Zone Two = the area that’s between 30 and 60 feet around your house or barn
  • Zone Three = the area that ex