Fire-Resistant Landscaping

Fire Resistant Landscaping GuideFire-resistant landscaping begins with maintaining your existing plants to optimize fire safety. Keep plants properly irrigated and pruned and remove all dead plant materials. In addition, tree branches should be pruned 10 feet away from structures and 6 feet above the ground to reduce the chance of ladder fuels spreading fire into the canopy or from trees to structures.

As well as maintaining existing plants, we recommend using fire-resistant plant species for new plantings and removing or replacing flammable plants within 30 feet of your home and structures. Highly flammable plants are those that will ignite quickly and burn readily due to properties such as the moisture content of their leaves and their levels of resin, oil and sap.

Landscaping Guides

Characteristics of Fire-Resistant Plants

  • Little fine (light fuels) or dead wood, and tendency not to accumulate heavy dead material fuel loads
  • Moist, supple leaves
  • Water-like sap with little or no odor
  • Low amount of sap or resin material

Characteristics of Flammable Plants

  • Contains continuous fine, dry, dead material (light fuels) within the plant (small branches, needles, bark)
  • Plant stems, branches, and leaves contain volatile waxes, terpenes, or oils
  • Leaves are aromatic
  • Gummy, resinous sap with a strong odor
  • Loose, papery bark

Highly Flammable Plants Include (But Are Not Limited to)


  • Acacia (Acacia sp.)
  • Arborvitae (Thuja sp.)
  • Cedar (Cedrus sp.)
  • Cedar/Cypress (Chamaecyparis sp.)
  • Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
  • Fir (Abies sp.)
  • Hemlock (Tsuga sp.)
  • Juniper (Juniperus sp.)
  • Pine (Pinus sp.)
  • Sequoia (Sequoia sp.)
  • Spruce (Picea sp.)
  • Yew (Taxus sp.)


  • Blackberry (Rubus armeniacus)
  • Bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata)
  • Juniper (Juniperus sp.)
  • Laurel sumac (Malosma laurina)
  • Manzanita* (Arctostaphylos sp.) *except for Kinnikinnick
  • Oregon grape* (Mahonia aquifolium) *except for ‘Compacta’
  • Rosemary* (Rosmarinus sp.) *except for ‘Prostratus’
  • Sagebrush (Artemisia sp.)
  • Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius)
  • Scrub oak (Quercus sp.)
  • Wild Lilac (Ceanothus sp.)

Grasses & Ground Cover

  • Dry annual grasses
  • Large bark mulch
  • Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana)

Additional Resources for Fire-Resistant Landscaping

  • Firewise Landscaping Checklist
  • Oregon Garden Fire Safety House: a life-sized teaching tool and real example of fire-resistant landscaping located at the Oregon Garden in Silverton, OR.