Protecting your Arizona home from wildfires

Dated: August 14 2021

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Arizona is no stranger to wildfires. They are natural in the region’s dry environment, especially during warmer seasons.

Recent years have shown, however, that Arizona’s wildfire season has become longer and more damaging. 2020 was considered the most destructive year for wildfires in a decade with over 970,000 acres of land burned. This year, Arizona has already seen a highly destructive wildfire season with approximately 480,000 acres burned so far.

What causes Arizona’s wildfire outbreaks?

Arizona’s ecosystem is naturally susceptible to wildfire. This is especially the case during droughts when conditions like windy thunderstorms, high temperatures, and the dry environment combine to spark wildfires.

But the violent spread of these wildfires is mostly due to two man-made factors:

  • Invasive plant species and overgrowth of dry foliage, which excessively fuel the wildfires; and
  • Increased recreational/entertainment activities across the state (e.g., campfires and cigarettes) that are fire risks.

If human activity is the main factor in the spread of wildfire, then this should also be the first line of defense against it.

Turn your Home Ignition Zones into defensible spaces

When a wildfire occurs near your area, embers are your home’s worst enemy. These are burning pieces of airborne wood or vegetation that can cause spot fires and ignite debris or the flammable parts of your home.

Defending your home from these ember attacks requires lessening the possibility of ignition in areas known as the Home Ignition Zones.

Zone 0: The ember-resistant zone

This is your topmost priority. This includes your house and the surrounding area within a 5-foot radius.

You can make it ember-resistant by:

  • Ridding roofs, gutters, and vents of dead leaves, debris, and other fine fuels that embers can ignite;
  • Repairing broken roof tiles, shingles, windows, or patio and deck features to prevent ember penetration or accumulation of combustible materials; and
  • Installing metal mesh screens in vents or replacing any exterior part of the house with nonflammable materials. You can read more about retrofitting your home here.

Zone 1: The lean, clean, and green zone.

This is the surrounding area within a 5- to 30-foot radius from your house that generally includes your property’s landscaping or vegetation. In this zone, you need to reduce the possibility of fire spreading to your home by clearing the area of dry foliage, flammable materials, and other fine fuels.

Remember to keep the area clear of dead plants and tree material, remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees), and practice tree spacing.

Zone 2: The reduced fuel zone

The area is from 30 to 200 feet away from your house, just like Zone 1. The goal is to reduce fire spread and to keep fire activity to shrubs or the crowns of trees. This helps to interrupt the wildfire’s path and keep the flames to a small and manageable level.

As homeowners, we must do our part in keeping our communities safe and ready for wildfire outbreaks. Learn more about ember-resistant and wildfire-safe Arizona homes from Aeris House Properties today. Call us at 602.671.2343 or send an email to

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