Wildland Fire Prevention

Town of Cave Creek

Wildland Fire Prevention

There are 5 steps to wildfire readiness:helicopter

Know what to do if a brush fire breaks out
Protect your property - know the zones
Ensure you and your contractors take fire safety precautions
Review the tips for wildland fire prevention
Remove invasive plants

Know what to do if a brush fire breaks out

Wildland fires burn rapidly, and winds often make them unpredictable. So, be very cautious when attempting to control a brush fire with a garden hose. Dial 9-1-1 for assistance every time.

  1. Report brush fires immediately by dialing 911. Never assume someone else will make the call.
  2. Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave keys in ignition. Close garage doors/windows. Disconnect automatic garage openers.
  3. Confine pets to one room. Make plans to care for pets in case you must evacuate.
  4. Follow instructions of emergency personnel. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  5. Wear protective clothing, sturdy shoes, cotton or wool clothing, long pants, long sleeved shirt, gloves and handkerchiefs to protect your face.
  6. Lock your home. Tell someone when you left and where you’re going. Choose a route away from fire hazard. Watch for changes in fire’s speed and direction.
  7. Emergency Management Information for the Community (PDF).

Protect your property - know the zones

Cave Creek Officials anticipate a significant potential for wildland fires which are fed by dried grasses and flash fuels. Brush fire season typically starts in mid-April and continues through September. Wildfire readiness is key: Start taking steps today to protect your property and family!

Defensible Space Protects Your Home

Homeowners and contractors should create a well-maintained, live vegetation zone to prevent damage to structures in case of wildland fires. This "defensible space" acts as a fire break. This area should contain only small brush and ground cover to prevent a continuous path of flammable materials leading to inhabited structures.

Specific Preventative Actions Recommended

  1. Maintain a 30-foot zone around your home; remove dried perennial grasses and thin overgrown bushes; remove dead branches or branches touching the ground.
  2. Remove dead vegetation that is down on the ground from an additional 20-foot zone for maximum protection (50 feet total or to your property line).

Defensible SpaceAction 1 - trim live vegetationAction 2 - remove dead & down vegetation
 Homes 30 feet 20 additional feet
 Walls 5 feet 15 additional feet
 Private Roads/ Driveways 10 feet 20 additional feet
 Construction 30 feet 20 additional feet

Please Note: The vegetation maintenance areas may need to be increased further, based upon terrain, to provide an adequate defensible space. This would typically occur in hillside areas where fires can quickly spread upwards in addition to outwards and where the deployment of fire trucks and equipment might be difficult.

Ensure You and Your Contractors take fire safety precautions

Be vigilant! Keep construction sites safe and free of combustible materials.

  • Limit welding & cutting to cleared areas. Water an area of 20 feet minimum or beyond the reach of possible sparks prior to welding or cutting.
  • Remove all flammable products & flash fuels.
  • Maintain the building envelope as a "clear zone" and thin an additional 30-feet to provide adequate defensible space.
  • Do not stack wood or other flammable construction materials in defensible space.

Contractors found negligent in maintaining a safe building environment can be held responsible for damages for the cost of providing fire protection services and for property loss.

Review the tips for wildland fire prevention

  • Deposit all cigarette butts in proper containers. Never throw a cigarette butt onto the ground or out of your vehicle window. If you must smoke outside, restrict smoking to cleared ground areas.
  • DO NOT drag chains when towing.
  • Add a spark arrester to off-road vehicles and other small internal combustion engines such as generators.
  • Consistently monitor defensible space for maximum fire prevention.
  • Remove flash fuels such as dead grass (Do NOT remove live native plants in your property’s Undisturbed Area).
  • Globe Chamomile and other invasive species should be removed from your property. Identifying Invasive Weeds
  • Trim trees within the 30-ft defensible space so the canopy is not touching the ground; remove any dead branches or leaves.
  • Trim grass and foliage around trees.
  • Keep gutters, eaves and roof clear of leaves and other debris.
  • Do not stack wood or other flammable materials within the 30-ft defensible space.
  • Keep a readily accessible garden hose with a nozzle attached to an outside hose valve connection.
  • Do not build a fire without making sure open fires are allowed, there is a 30’ clear defensible space around the fire ring and always follow fire safety information.

Tips for Homeowners Living in the High Sonoran Desert

Remove invasive plants

Residents are urged to contact Town of Cave Creek at 480-488-6633 for more information if you are not sure what plants are invasive.

Vegetation from washes, community common areas, undeveloped lots, and large projects are
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not the responsibility of Town crews.

Please note, there are specific guidelines for Desert Broom and Salt Cedar removal (PDF).