|The problem: Dense stands of shore pine, Pinus contorta ssp. contorta, in grasslands. Fires can easily jump from grasslands to trees under these conditions. Limbs grow to the ground, and trees are close-spaced. Photo by Kathleen Sayce|
|Looking east from the beach into the dunes, see some property owners take out most of the trees. Others leave dense stands. Photo by Kathleen Sayce|
The process is straightforward:
|Still small enough to mow down with a brush cutter, these young pines will form a dense stand in less than five years. Photo by Kathleen Sayce|
Leave a few healthy large trees, spaced widely so that their canopies (each tree’s crown of branches and needles) do not touch. Twenty to thirty feet apart is good.
|This pine tree is out in the open, but its limbs still grow too near the ground. Photo by Kathleen Sayce|
|This pine tree has been limbed to about 6 feet, a good first step in making the tree fire-resistant. Note the tree behind it has also been limbed. |
Photo by Kathleen Sayce
Mow the grass each year in July, to reduce thatch and cut down any new seedling trees. If you have dense stands of salal and huckleberry, mow them down too, every 2-3 years. Also remove gorse and scotch broom shrubs, both of which burn hot and fast. A July mowing, just as the annual summer drought gets going, removes fuel for the season. Mow a swathe around buildings. A twenty-feet-wide band is good, fifty feet is better.