BOISE -- Fire season is in full swing here in Idaho. Often when covering a fire, KTVB and fire officials talk about defensible space. Fire officials always encourage people to create good defensible space around their homes.
"If you actually look at the layout of our town, we're surrounded by dry grasses on every single side of us," said horticulturist Elisa Clark.
This week, a fire crept close to homes in Horseshoe Bend. Wildfire in Pocatello destroyed more than 60 homes. Houses all over the Treasure Valley are vulnerable to wildfires. Clark's mission is to educate people about being firewise and on having defensible space around their homes.
"Honestly, I don't think a lot of people think about it," Clark said. "And it's kind of one of those things where, if there's not a fire, people aren't concerned about it."
Clark teaches a class at the North End Organic Nursery on firewise landscaping. She's done firewise landscaping on a number of houses in the area.
"An ember can go a mile out, carried by the wind," she said. "And if you start thinking about that in terms of how big our city actually is, it's quite possible that somebody in the middle of the town could get a spark from a wildfire that's just over our hills."
Clark told KTVB there are few homes in Boise with good defensible space. But she has ways to change that.
"It means keeping your shrubs pruned up, keeping the dead material out of your yard, cleaning up your leaf debris, keeping your wood piles away from your house," she said. "Keeping your trees 15 feet away from your home so they're not touching your house."
There are firewise building materials that are a safer alternative to wood. It's also about lawn care -- keeping your lawn watered or irrigated, and mowed. And there are plants Clark warns not to put near your house.
"Anything evergreen is going to have a lot of oily sap or resin in it's leaves," Clark said. "Keeping them at least 30 feet away from your home is a really good idea."
Having a firewise yard protects a home from wildfires or house fires. And Clark said it doesn't have to be ugly.
"You can have a lush, beautiful landscape and still be fire safe," she said.
Plants with high moisture content, and low sap and resin are the most firewise.