July 2023. By Cassy Aoyagi:It’s always a joy to be in Sierra Madre – even in Zoom! Friend and fire defensive architect Amy Sims will join me and Sierra Madre Fire Department Chief Brent Bartlett to answer questions about fire defense.

Here are our answers to a few already-submitted questions. Check back after the July 26th 6:00 pm panel for additional QAs and resources.

Can you recommend a fire resistant ground cover to replace grass lawn?

We recommend several IdealMow lawn materials that need less than 20 percent of the water consumed by traditional lawns when supported by smart irrigation. If you don’t mow, they simply grow to form beautiful, wildlife-supporting meadows. A few can be seen at Sierra Madre City Hall, along with several other fire resilient and defensive plants.

Don’t plant synthetic turf! It is not allowed in Zone 0 – and for good reason. Even those advertising fire resistant are made of petroleum products. They burn, and when they burn they produce more dangerous smoke.

What is Zone 0?

A compliant Zone 0 has only ember resistant materials in the ground-level 5 feet closest to the home. Just what is ember resistant? Check our our Zone 0 FAQ for detail – you may be pleasantly surprised!

What low-cost help is available for seniors who can’t do the work themselves?

There are many grants available for related work, and we suspect more are on their way.

Beyond grants, it behooves neighbors to look out for one another. Every prepared home helps defend neighboring properties. The creation of a Firewise Council is a great opportunity to ask for help.

Sources and Resources

FormLA Landscaping | YouTube: Fire Defensive Home Tours
Insurance Commission: Safer from Wildfire Grants Available!
California OES: Grants Available!
RCDSMM: DefensibleSpace.org
RCDSMM: Home Ignition Zone Evaluation Program
RCDSMM: Grants Available!
National Fire Protection Association: Work with Teen Programs
California Fire Safe Councils: Take Community Action, Improve Insurance Outcomes