How Succulents Saved Our Home from a Wildfire

How Succulents Saved Our Home from a Wildfire

01 June 2010

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USA — Brush fires are always a concern in communities where homes are built deep into natural habitats such as the hills surrounding Los Angeles. These areas have been plagued by fire within recent years and recently we heard that planting succulents can serve as first line of defense against a fast spreading wildfire.

This homeowner in San Diego claims that succulents did indeed save her home from fire.

According to this article, “succulents have soared in popularity recently because they’re drought-tolerant, easy-care and just plain cool to look at, and now there’s another compelling reason to grow them: They’re fire-retardant. During last month’s wildfires, succulents — which by definition store water in plump leaves and stems — apparently stopped a blaze in its tracks.”

Eddie Villavicencio, deputy fire marshal for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, affirms that succulents are fire-retardant, especially jade and cactus. An exception are “certain ice plants, which if not well-maintained can be flammable underneath.”

His department, which also monitors erosion control, cautions against planting trailing ground covers such as Hottentot fig (Carpobrotus edulis) atop steep slopes; its moisture-filled leaves are heavy and roots too shallow to hold the soil.

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