Lauren Depew

Online, interactive Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector helps users select plants to reduce wildfire risk

Blog Post created by Lauren Depew Employee on Aug 13, 2012

Plant Selector
The Eastern United Sates has experienced severe wildfire incidents over the last decade. Homeowners living in fire prone areas in this region need to be better informed about the role vegetation plays in the transfer of heat and the mechanism by which fire spreads.

The Eastern United States Fire Performance Plant Selector can help you to make informed decisions related to selecting a plant for a particular location, growth habitat, fire performance, cultural requirements, and urban and utility adaptability. This plant selection database builds on the expertise of the Firewise, urban forestry, horticultural, and landscape architecture professions to collectively address fire safety and vegetation selection.

The Fire Performance Plant Selector is an easy-to-use, interactive website for selecting plants to help reduce fire risk in fire-prone areas and the Home Ignition Zone. The website includes approximately 500 commonly occurring trees, shrubs, ground covers, vines, and grasses of the Eastern United States. It was developed as a resource for urban foresters, Firewise professionals, community planners and homeowners, and uses a science-based system to rank the potential for a plant species to ignite, burn, and move fire across a landscape.

This website was designed for users who have knowledge of Firewise principles as well as for those who have knowledge of plant material. Users can conduct searches related to their specific site needs, plant characteristics and fire risk. Users can also generate factsheets, complete with plant photographs, and personalized plant lists. This information can then be exported into an Excel spreadsheet or Word document.

The Fire Performance Plant Selector can be easily expanded to include thousands of additional plants and serve as a catalyst to promote the need for increased research on the flammability of ornamental vegetation. In the near future, 500 new shrubs, herbaceous plants, and more Southern trees and shrubs will be added to the website.

Stay tuned during the coming weeks as the reporting capability on the site will be updated, new information will continue to be added, and the website moved to a new location: www.fireplantselector.org.

We’re excited about this new tool; we hope you are, too! Let us know what you think.

Don’t live in the Northeast? You can find additional Firewise landscaping and plant lists for other states around the country by visiting the “research and guidance” section on the Firewise website.

-Heidi Wagner

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