Brush Fire Safety

Michigan winters keep the ground frozen for extended periods of time ever after the snow has melted, but as temperatures climb, the vegetation dries out and becomes a serious fire risk. Don’t let your home or property become victim to a brush fire. Maintaining your own property and landscape can help keep your property. Here are some tips to help:

  • Keep weeds trimmed, grass cut and brush groomed.
  • Remove dead and piled up vegetation, and dispose of it properly.
  • Properly dispose of trash and debris. Piles of refuse such as old furniture, boxes and pallets are fires waiting to happen. Even old cars can burn!
  • Stack firewood away from structures, fences or anything else that may be combustible.

If you live in an outlying or more rural area, consider these additional steps:

  • Create at least a 30-ft. safety zone or firebreak around your home.
  • Limit the use of flammable plants in landscape design. Choose fire resistant varieties.
  • Plant trees and large shrubs in sparse, separate areas.
  • Limit the use of trees and shrubs that have large volumes of foliage and branches.
  • Limit the use of plants that have shaggy bark or dry leaves that shed annually.
  • Limit the use of plants that develop dry or dead undergrowth.
  • Limit the placement of plants next to structures, under eaves, overhangs, decks, etc.
  • Limit the use of plants placed at the bases of trees or large shrubs.
  • Remove ladder fuels (plants that provide a link between the ground and tree limbs).

Maintenance Hints:

  • Conduct regular maintenance to reduce the opportunity for brush fires.
  • Remove low hanging branches. Also, remove tree limbs around chimneys.
  • Keep the roof clear. Sweep gutters and eaves, and wash the roof on a regular basis to get rid of dry needles and leaves.
  • Control the height of ground vegetation and mow the grass often.
  • Remove dead and accumulated vegetation, and dispose of it properly.
  • Provide enough water to keep plants healthy and green. Keep irrigation systems in good working order.
  • Top trees only when necessary as topping creates too many lower branches that can increase the fire danger.
  • Remove or thin the dead wood and the older trees beyond 100 feet from the house.
  • Store and use flammable liquids properly.


ALWAYS dispose of cigarettes carefully.