Wildfire Prevention Tip #10: Mulch Practices

April 4th, 2014


Originally, mulch was a material consisting of leaves, bark or compost spread around and over a plant to enrich or insulate the soil. Today, most mulches are commercially produced wood chips, bark and other components. The vast majority of these mulches are flammable and can spread fire around and to your homes.

Don’t build mulch paths to the house or in beds around and immediately adjacent to your home– those can lead a fire to the house. With today’s extended periods of drought and fire potential, it is safer to use small, flat river stones; pea gravel; honed, colored glass beads; or standard gravel in beds 12-18 inches next to the house (easy to keep free of leaves and debris, keeps vegetation away from windows and walls). Use stone or cement pathways to break up landscape to stop fire from spreading across dry grass or bushes. Put down weed barrier, then the aforementioned stone beds. Beware of putting a lot of burnable mulch around trees – in a wildfire, hat can burn and harm the roots of the tree.

Using stone beds in your yard can reduce the amount of grass coverage; reduce water usage; create inflammable barriers between grass, bushes and other drought-resistant vegetation; reduce fire danger; all while creating an attractive, artful yard in your neighborhood.

house mulch fire

You want to be protected from situations like the one to the right – a home in New York that was damaged from fire in the mulch. See the article here for some research results on mulch flammability:


Welcome Spring, be Firewise and enhance your home!!

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