Fire Fuel Reduction with Homeowners’ Associations

Our crews have been working with two local homeowners’ associations (HOA’s) to create defensible space around homes and reduce fire fuel. At the Oak Forest HOA properties in Oakmont, crews created 30 feet of clearance around common areas by removing dead and woody materials and removing small trees and shrubs, including all Spanish Broom (spartium junceum) from the properties. Spanish Broom has a high capacity of fire hazard and can stifle other nearby plant growth. At the Overlook HOA properties, crews used chainsaws and hedge trimmers to remove all juniper and rosemary, very fire-prone plants, down to ground level. The cut material was all chipped and spread over areas where vegetation was removed.

Many of our corpsmembers remark that they enjoy learning the “why” behind the projects they do—it gives the work meaning and purpose, and they can take more ownership of projects. In addition to learning skills that will be useful in their careers, corpsmembers gain useful knowledge that they can share in their communities. At the end of these two projects, a total of 77 houses were made more defensible against wildfires.