Landscaping and Homebuilding Considerations

Landscaping and Homebuilding Considerations

FireSmart Landscaping

Fire resistant plants are those that do not readily ignite from flame or other ignition sources. These plants can be damaged or even killed by fire however, their foliage and stems do not significantly contribute to the fuel and fire intensity.

Characteristics of fire-resistant plants:

  • moist, supple leaves
  • accumulates minimal dead vegetation
  • water-like sap with little odour
  • low amount of sap or resin material

Characteristics of highly flammable plants:

  • leaves or needles are aromatic
  • accumulates fine, dry dead material
  • contain resin or oils
  • loose, papery or flaky bark

Examples of plants to AVOID planting: cedar, juniper, pine, tall grass and spruce

Plan your landscape with low water requirements that are also FireSmart. Water conservation and environmental protection are values shared by all of us. Checkout the following resources for FireSmart and WaterSmart landscapes.

FireSmart Canada: FireSmart Guide to Landscaping

RDN Printable Brochure: FireSmart Guide to Native Plants

City of Campbell River & Strathcona Regional District: FireSmart Guide to Gardening 

RDN Team WaterSmart - Look for the below handouts under the Document Library

  • Team WaterSmart - TWS Landscape Guide to Water Efficiency
  • Team WaterSmart - TWS Handout Native Plants
  • Team WaterSmart - TWS Handout Rain Gardens
  • Team WaterSmart - TWS Handout Xeriscaping

FireSmart Homebuilding

Unscreened vents can allow heat and embers to enter a building and ignite it. Install non-combustible material for all vents. They should be 3-millimetre screening or ASTM (American rating system) fire rated vents. Metal products are recommended for vents and vent flashing.

Home Siding

With inadequate ground-to-siding clearance, accumulated embers can ignite combustible siding directly. At least 15 centimetres of ground-to-siding, non-combustible clearance is recommended. Examine your siding for locations where embers could accumulate. Maintaining and removing combustible debris (such as lumber, stored vehicles, branches, grass and leaves) and firewood near the exterior walls will reduce a building’s vulnerability to ignition during a wildfire.

Superior Fire-Resistant materials are:
Fibre cement siding
Stucco siding
Brick siding

Roofing Material:

The roof is the most VULNERABLE component of your home. Sparks and burning embers from a wildfire can travel long distances and quickly ignite flammable roofing material.

Class A – high resistance to fire. Examples of Class A roofing material include clay tile, concrete tile, metal and asphalt shingles.

Class B – moderate resistance to fire.

Class C – low resistance to fire. Examples include untreated wood shakes.

Roof features such as skylights and solar panels could be entry or accumulation points for wind-blown embers. Keep these features clear of combustible debris and properly maintained.

Emergency Services | 6300 Hammond Bay Road | Nanaimo, BC V9T 6N2 | E-mail: emergencyservices [at]
Telephone: 250-390-4111 (Nanaimo) 1-877-607-4111 (Toll Free) | 250-390-2757 (Fax)