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3 Yard Fire Hazards to Be Aware of

3 Yard Fire Hazards to Be Aware of
The backyard can be a fun place during the summer – but it can also be dangerous. One of the biggest dangers, especially during hot and dry weather, is fire. This article is to bring you awareness of potential fire hazards in your own backyard.

#1- Plants
Trees and gardens can add a lot to a backyard, but they can also catch fire and help fire spread. Fire departments recommend that homeowners think in terms of “defensible space,” which is defined as the area surrounding a building. Plants within the “defensible space” have to be maintained in a way to reduce the risk of fire and allow firefighters to safely reach the building.

They should also be fire resistant. Trees, shrubs and other plants should be spaced apart, so the fire can’t jump from plant to plant. Tall trees should not be planted near a house, and their branches should be at least ten feet away from the chimney. A tree’s lower branches should be removed to make it harder for a fire that started on the ground to climb up the tree.

#2- Firepits
A fire pit is an outdoor fireplace. It can range from to a stone ring around the fire to a plain metal bowl with a grill top and protective screen cover to a “chimenea” that comes with a smoke vent. People enjoy firepits because they evoke the feel of campfires. To prevent a fire from raging out of control, the owner of a firepit should follow certain rules.

First off, the firepit should be made of fireproof materials like cement or brick. The firepit needs to be at least ten feet away from any building or deck. The homeowner should clear anyway flammable debris like branches or dead leaves before starting a fire. Firepits should not be used during windy conditions, for the wind could blow embers about and start a fire. There should always be a responsible adult nearby; in some places, unattended grills or firepits are a leading cause of fires.

#3- Torches
Flaming outdoor torches can add ambience to an outdoor party, but they can also be a fire hazard. In order to reduce the risk, torches should not be placed under anything flammable like trees. They should be about six to eight feet apart and at least six feet away from any buildings. The homeowner should then make certain the torch is securely anchored, especially if they have children or pets that might knock it over.

A torch stand or stake can give the torch extra stability as can tying it to a fireproof fence or post. The homeowner should use a funnel when pouring the torch fuel into the reservoir to prevent spills. Most torches come with a snuffer cap attached to them, so the homeowner should use that to put out the torch when the party’s over. Both torches and fuel should be stored in a safe place away from children and pets.

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5 Tips for Prepping Your Yard for Winter

5 Tips for Prepping Your Yard for Winter

1) Make friends with mulch
You probably spend more of your autumn than you would like raking up leaves. Fortunately, there is a reward in store. Shred those leaves into fine mulch or compost them, and you will be left with excellent winter protection for your plants. Mulch fertilizes keeps predators at bay, and provides much-needed insulation. Be diligent about raking and collecting leaves, and you will see your hard work pay off in the spring in the form of a vibrant, healthy lawn and garden.

2) Switch out the Summer team for some Fall all-stars
The arrival of colder weather does not mean your whole garden needs to go dormant. As Winter approaches, pull weeds and annuals to prevent mold and reduce garden clutter. Cut perennials back to 1-1.5 inches above the soil and blanket in mulch. You can then revive your garden with fast-growing Fall vegetables such as salad greens and carrots. Autumn is also a good time to plant trees and bulbs, which can be sensitive to heat. Wrap chicken wire around young trees to protect them from hungry animals during the winter.

3) Set your lawn up for success
The most common aesthetic defect in post-Winter lawns is patchiness, often caused by uneven hydration due to uneven snowfall and freezing patterns. An astute gardener can remedy this problem by aerating, fertilizing, and over-seeding to compensate for die-off. Plants become "thirsty" as weather gets colder and will take in everything they can from the soil, so this is a key time for hydration and nutrient absorption.

4) Bring warm-weather perennials from the cold
Some perennials are not hardy enough to survive the winter, but that doesn't mean they must be relegated to the compost heap. Small plants can be moved inside and used as decorative house plants during the colder months. A splash of green can certainly add cheeriness to a dreary January. Even after the Fall harvest is over, you can continue to enjoy the benefits of your vegetable garden by canning any late-season extras and drying herbs such as basil for winter use.

5) Protect your tools
Don't forget to protect the equipment you use to maintain your gorgeous garden. Metal tools such as rakes and trowels should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent rusting. Garden hoses should be coiled up and stored indoors to prevent cracking and splitting due to frost. Depending on your local climate, you may also wish to shut off your outdoor water spigots to avoid burst pipes. Be sure to drain the spigot after shutting off the water and disconnecting the hose.

It may seem like there are many boxes to check on your winter prepping checklist, but remember that these steps can take place over the course of several months. In fact, most can be accomplished as part of regular lawn and garden maintenance. With just a little extra effort on your part, your yard can emerge from the Winter months as robust and attractive as ever!