How Topography Influences Wildfire Risk

The topography around your home or business, which includes the slope of the land and the direction the structure faces, is a major consideration in assessing the risk exposure to wildfire. Wildfires burn up a slope faster and more intensely than along flat ground and a steeper slope will result in a faster moving fire, with longer flame lengths.

STEPS TO DETERMINE THE STEEPNESS OF THE SLOPE

  1. Select a mark on the slope and walk 10 paces downhill;

  2. If your head is below the mark you have a steep slope.

PROTECTING MID-SLOPE OR STEEP SLOPE PROPERTIES

If your structure is set back less than 15 feet for a single-story and 30 feet for a two-story building take additional precautions:

  • Be more aggressive with your vegetation modification and maintenance plan and more aware of the materials used to build the building, deck or any outbuildings.
  • Push fuel modification area beyond the 100-foot distance, if at all possible. A target for the extended fuel modification area would be between 150 feet and 200 feet.
  • Consider increasing the protection of your building by constructing a noncombustible retaining wall to help increase the set-back. When making future improvements, incorporate ignition-resistant features and materials into the building and surrounding landscape.