Landscaping VS Firewise



  • Noun 1.1 All the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal

  • Verb 1.2 make (a piece of land) more attractive by altering the existing design, adding ornamental features, and planning trees and shrubs



  • Creating survivable space to strengthen the opportunity for lives and property to be saved during a wildfire event.

  • Design a route of evacuation to allow for safe egress and potentially safe lives and property.


“Please, don’t destroy my property!”


This is a common statement from homeowners when the DHFW Team does grant assessments on properties. During each assessment, the DHFW Team utilizes a form from the National Fire Protection Agency that is an industry standard at the local, state, and federal level. This form allows for us to align with transparent standards and ensure that each property is evaluated fairly. The Home Ignition Zone Structure Assessment Guide form is for your personal use. You will be given the form at the end of the assessment. There is no grade and no condemnation. The fuel reduction of your acreage will be discussed separately.


So, what is the difference between landscaping and Firewise?


Landscaping is creating a visually pleasing environment that may include trimming trees, weed whacking, flower beds, adding rock, or even drip systems.

(See image below courtesy of houzz.com)

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Firewise is creating a survivable space by removing organic material that creates a hazardous environment and blocks egress in the event of a wildfire. During the process of Firewise, islands are created that allow of paths of egress and allows for firefighters to gain access to areas to protect lives and property when possible. (See image below courtesy of AccuWeather.com)

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The goal of our DHFW Team and our AHJ’s (Authorities Having Jurisdiction) is to help you escape and survive by implementing survivable space (and maintaining it.)

The DHFW Team has partnered with wildland-fire fighter owned contractors and landscape contractors who have attended fire wise assessor training from the Department of Forestry and Fire Management.  

What does that mean to you?

  • Current industry knowledge on fire behavior and assessment

  • Unique viewpoint and evaluation by an expert

  • Land that is properly serviced through organic reduction

  • On-site education and real-life application


The DHFW Team will guide you to these resources to ensure you have the greatest opportunity possible for the most effective application of organic material while mentoring you through the grant process.

Here are a few questions to discuss with your qualified assessor trained contractor:

  • What direction would the fire mostly like come from?

  • What is my best line of defense for my area?

  • Do I have any unique attributes to consider such as shake-shingles, trees close to the home, or dual access/egress?

  • Should I remove the duff or how do I safely recycle it?

  • If I have more questions, which agency should I contact?


Ultimately the choice is up to the homeowner whether you chose landscaping or Firewise, but they can co-exist.

Can you have a water feature and Scrub Oak? Yes.

Can you have a seating area to watch the sunset and your favorite tree? Yes.


It is all about application and design.


The DHFW Team encourages you to research, educate, and make the choice that best suits your needs that will best save your life and property.


The DHFW Team understands that your home is your greatest investment and together we can save lives.


“Be Your Own Hero”

(Please note that ANY information is shared with the intent to save lives. The DHFW Team and their partners are not liable for misinterpretation, misuse, or misunderstanding of any information in this blog. If you have questions specific to wildfires for our community, we ask that you contact CAFMA at 928-772-7711.)