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Protecting your home from wildfire

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Steps to Protect Your Home From Wildfire

Do you live in or near a natural area of forest or grassland? This is the wildland urban interface or WUI, where fire is a natural occurrence and cannot always be stopped. You can be proactive by reducing fuels that could carry a wildfire to your home.

Create a Defensible Space

  • Remove all trees and large shrubs within 30 feet of the home.
  • To a distance of 100 feet (200 feet on steep lots), remove some trees and shrubs to create 10 feet of space between adjoining tree’s outermost branches. Prune lower branches of remaining trees up to 10 feet off the ground.
  • Remove ladder fuels, young trees and shrubs planted close to larger trees that could carry a ground fire into the tops of large trees.
  • Minimize Flammable Debris. Keep roofs and rain gutters free of pine needles, leaves, and other flammable material.
  • Keep firewood and other flammable debris a minimum of 50 feet from the house, preferably on the uphill side.
  • Mow grasses to a height of less than 6 inches within 50 feet of the home.
  • Use Fire Resistant Construction and Landscaping. Wood shake shingle roofs are highly flammable. Convert roof to Class A fire resistant materials such as fiberglass-asphalt, metal, and tile.
  • Construct decks and siding with non-combustible materials.
  • Screen openings under decks and attic and foundation vents.
  • Check with local nurseries to learn about fire resistant landscaping.
  • Call your local Forestry office for more information.
  • Fire Wise Plant Materials (for wildland urban interface areas)
  • Grass Seed Mixes to Reduce Wildfire Hazard
  • Defensible Space Guidelines
  • NM Fire Resistant Plants
  • Ember Awareness


More information can be found at Firewise USA ®, a resource of many proportions. How to make defensible space around your home. Rate your home chances of surviving a wildland fire. Interactive items, publications, other links. Brought to you by the National Wildland/Urban Interface Fire Protection Program.

If a Wildfire is Burning Near Your Home

  • Stay calm. Call 911 to report a fire.
  • Cover all eave and roof vents.
  • Cover large picture windows with plywood.
  • Close all windows and doors; open drapes.
  • Evacuate to a safe location